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Full text of "Letters of Elijah Fletcher"

SWEET BRIAR COLLEGE 



3 2449 0313460 $ 



Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2011 witii funding from 

Lyrasis IVIembers and Sloan Foundation 



http://www.archive.org/details/lettersofelijahfOOedit 



THE LETTERS OF 
ELIJAH FLETCHER 



Edited by 
Martha von Briesen 



THE 
LETTERS OF 

ELIJAH 
FLETCHER 



University Press of Virginia 
Charlottesville 



C. 3 



Cofy right ©igd^ 

by the Rector and Visitors of 

the University of Virginia 

The University Press of Virginia 

First fublished 196^ 

Library of Congress 

Catalog Card Number: 6^—142^4 

Printed in the 

United States of America 



Preface 



Letters written for an audience of one or for those who comprise a family are 
seldom of great literary or historical moment. It seems rather rude, in fact, to 
bare them to the eyes of a much wider audience. Yet personal letters such as 
those written by Elijah Fletcher more than a century ago may claim the interest 
of the social historian or delight the reader who enjoys viewing a bygone era 
through the eyes of an alert observer and participant. 

New sights and strange customs observed by young Fletcher on his long and 
fatiguing horseback journey from Vermont to Virginia in the summer of 1810 
were described in some detail in the letters he wrote to his family on the farm 
at Ludlow, Vermont. Subsequent letters reveal his interest in agricultural prac- 
tices, social conditions and manners, and political trends. His letters show how 
his outlook changed over the years as he began to think of himself as a Vir- 
ginian. 

More than fifty of Elijah Fletcher's letters written between 1808, when he 
was in his second year at Middlebury College, and 1830, when he had become 
a prominent citizen in Lynchburg, Virginia, were saved. Tucked away in the 
garret of the old home in Vermont, they remained in such good condition 
that they could be read with comparative ease when they were returned to Vir- 
ginia in 1954. At that time two of Elijah Fletcher's grandnieces then living in 
Ludlow, Mrs. Mary Fletcher Charlton and Miss Fanny B. Fletcher, gave 



PREFACE vi 

them to Sweet Briar College, which had been founded by his daughter, Indiana 
Fletcher Williams, on the plantation which was once his beloved domain. 

Although it seems likely that Elijah continued to write to his mother after his 
father's death early in 1 831, no other letters from him were found at the old 
farmhouse. Elijah and his brother Calvin, however, maintained a steady cor- 
respondence for thirty years until Elijah's death in 1858. Calvin, who rose to 
prominence in Indianapolis, kept his brother's letters, and today they may be 
seen in bound volumes II, IV, VI, IX, and XVII among the several hundred 
letters and other documents which constitute the Calvin Fletcher papers in the 
William Henry Smith Memorial Library of the Indiana Historical Society, in 
Indianapolis. With the Library's generous permission for publication, photo- 
copies of these letters were obtained. They carry along the story of Elijah's 
life and that of his family, and they show something of his business relations 
with Calvin. Beyond what is immediate and personal, the reader glimpses con- 
temporary economic circumstances and political events. 

To fill in a few gaps in the continuity of Elijah's account and to present the 
scene from other points of view, some letters written by other members of the 
family have been inserted in chronological sequence. Among these are several 
which were found with the family papers at Sweet Briar, notably those written 
by Elijah's wife, Maria, to their elder son, Sidney, when he was spending the 
winter of 1830-31 with his grandparents in Vermont. Here also were found 
the unusually affectionate, fatherly letter to his elder daughter, Indiana, shortly 
after she entered the Georgetown Visitation Convent Academy, and the fond 
letter he addressed to Sidney, Indiana, and their younger sister, Betty, shortly 
before their return from two years' schooling and travel in Europe. A few letters 
from Elijah's brothers, Timothy and Miles, and one from a sister, Lucy 
Fletcher Williams, are also included, as are a number written to Calvin Fletcher 
by Maria, Sidney, and Indiana. All together, they comprise a family chronicle. 

In this volume, the letters in Part I, 1808-29, are addressed by Elijah 
Fletcher to his father, Jesse Fletcher, in Ludlow, Vermont, unless otherwise 
indicated; with a few exceptions, those in Part II, 1 830-58, are addressed to 
Calvin Fletcher in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

In preparing the letters for publication, it seemed desirable to retain the 
flavor of a past century by refraining from correcting spelling. Slips of the pen 
such as repeated words or phrases were stricken from the text, and the punctua- 
tion and paragraphing were adjusted in the interests of smoothness and greater 
readability. 



Martha von Briesen 



Sweet Briar, Virginia 
October 1964 



Acknowledgments 

Information needed to describe persons and events referred to in the letters 
was chiefly obtained from such standard works as the Dictionary of American 
Biografhy, Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biografhy, and the Biograph- 
ical Dir\eceory of the American Congress — which are the sources of short bio- 
graphical notes not otherwise documented — and Cappon's Virginia Newspapers, 
1821-1^25- Many other reference works were used, including Fletcher Family 
History y by Edward H. Fletcher; History of Ludlow, by Joseph N. Harris; 
Historic and Heroic Lynchburg, by Don P. Halsey; Lynchburg and Its Peo- 
ple, by W. Asbury Christian; Sketches and Recollections of Lynchburg, by 
Margaret A. Cabell; The Cabells and Their Kin, by Alexander Brown; Old 
Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, by Bishop William Meade; The 
Saga of a City, published by the Lynchburg Sesquicentennial Association, Inc., 
in 1936; Greater Indianapolis, by Jacob Piatt Dunn; Sketches of Prominent 
Citizens of Indianapolis, by John H. B. Nowland; Landmarks of Wayne 
County, N.Y., by G. W. Cowles; and History of Wayne County, N.Y., by 
W. H. Mcintosh. Other sources of information include files of the Virginian, a 
Lynchburg weekly newspaper published from 1825 to 1841 by Elijah Fletcher, 
Calvin Fletcher's diary, and court records of marriages, wills, and property 
deeds in Lynchburg and in Amherst County. 

Encouragement and assistance, especially in locating sources for background 
material, have been most generously given by many individuals and gratefully 
received by the editor, who is indebted beyond measure to Martha Rivers Adams, 
Lucille and Alban Watson, and Connie M. Guion. Space does not permit men- 
tion of all those friends whose interest in this work over the past decade has 
spurred me on in dark days, but a large measure of gratitude goes to Lydia M. 
Newland, Annette Gemmell, Rebecca M. Carroll, Natalie Manson Dew, and 
many others unnamed. 

Acknowledgment is thankfully expressed for critical advice given by Fran- 
cis L. Berkeley, Jr., John Cook Wyllie, Philip L. Scruggs, Thomas P. Hughes, 
James A. Rawley, and William M. E. Rachal; for personal reminiscences and 
sidelights on local or family history, to Mr. and Mrs. Allen M. Fletcher, Jr., 
Fletcher Hodges, Mabel McGinnis Patteson, Greenwood H. Nowlin, Jr., Jane 
Claiborne Calkins, Sallie and Fannie Claiborne, Gladys K. and Jacqueline 
Williams, Susan H. Dabney, Elvira Henry Miller, Roger Williams, and Evie 
Williams Holt. For assistance in locating information in court records the editor 
is grateful to George W. Martin, clerk of the Lynchburg court, to Bailey F. 
Davis, and to the staff of the Amherst county clerk's office. 

The editor's warm gratitude goes to those who have directed her steps along 
the devious path in pursuit of General Mason's identity: Marc Elcan, Mollie 
Somerville, Pamela C. Copeland, Francis J. Henninger, Montgomery Mc- 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS vUi 

Crary, and finally, Melvin Lee Steadman, Jr., who graciously produced docu- 
mentary proof concerning Thomson Mason which ended the search. 

To many others who have cheerfully aided in the completion of this publica- 
tion the editor expresses repeated thanks, in particular to Sister Mary Leonard 
Whipple, who sent century-old records from the Visitation Convent Academy 
at Georgetown; to persons in the alumni records offices of Yale and Brown 
universities, who supplied data about Sidney Fletcher and the sons of Calvin 
Fletcher; to Gladys Ladu at the New York State Library, and especially to 
Robert L. Hoeltzel, of Newark, N.Y., who produced ample information about 
the four Fletcher sisters and their families; to James A. Bear, Jr.; and to Julian 
P. Boyd, for permission to quote from his letter commenting on Fletcher's re- 
marks about Thomas Jefferson. 

It is not easy to express sufficient appreciation for the genuine concern over 
reference problems and the helpful guidance towards their solution which was 
so kindly given by Josiephine B. Wingfield and Nell H. Skelton and other staff 
members of the Jones Memorial Library in Lynchburg. 

Heroines of the first order for their zeal at digging out relevant reference 
material are Caroline Dunn, librarian of the William Henry Smith Memorial 
Library of the Indiana Historical Society; Leona T. Alig, manuscript librarian; 
and Marian Wehner, a volunteer assistant. Without their unflagging interest, 
their patience with a fumbling amateur, their painstaking care, and the untold 
hours which they spent checking typescripts against original letters and supply- 
ing countless details from reference works in their library's collection, this publi- 
cation would not have been possible. 

No less heroic are Evelyn S. Munger and Adina Amos, who patiently typed 
and retyped the manuscript and brought order out of footnote chaos. 

A final word of gratitude goes to Mary Fletcher Charlton and Fanny 
Fletcher, donors of the early letters found at Fletcher Farm, who thus initiated 
this book; to Anne Gary Pannell, who provided assistance which enabled me to 
work intensively for several weeks to bring it to conclusion; and especially to 
Mrs. Charlton, whose financial support made publication possible. 



Contents 



Preface v 

Acknowledgments vii 

A Biographical Sketch of Elijah Fletcher xiii 

The Letters of Elijah Fletcher 
Parti 1 808-1 829 I 

Part II 1 830-1 858 109 

Appendixes 

I The Fletcher Family 277 

II Receipts for Educational Expenses of Elijah Fletcher 278 

III New Glasgow Academy 279 

IV The Crawford Family 282 

V Administrator's Account, W. S. Crawford Estate 284 

VI An Editorial from the New Owners of the Virginian 285 

VII Governor Ray and Calvin Fletcher 286 

VIII An Editorial Written by Elijah Fletcher on His Retirement 

IX Excerpts from Calvin Fletcher's Diary 289 

X The Kirklands 291 

XI An Editorial on Elijah Fletcher's Death 293 

XII Letter from Jesse Fletcher to Lucy Fletcher 294 

Index 297 



List of Illustrations 



Elijah Fletcher Frontispiece 

From a daguerreotype in Portmits and Memoirs of Eminent 
Americans, by John Livingston 

facing fage 

The Jesse Fletcher farmhouse in Ludlow, Vermont 1 40 

Tusculum 141 

Photograph courtesy of the Iron Worker 

Sweet Briar House 156 

Photograph by Flournoy, Virginia State Chamber of Commerce 

Calvin Fletcher 157 

Courtesy of Indiana Historical Society Library 

Elijah Fletcher 157 

From a portrait now in the possession of Sweet Briar College 



A BIOGRAPHICAL 

SKETCH OF 

ELIJAH FLETCHER 



\'ermont takes pride in the large number of men who have gone forth from the 
Green Mountain State to seek their fortunes elsewhere, taking with them certain 
strong traits of character which typify Vermonters and help them to become 
leaders In their adopted communities. Such a man was Elijah Fletcher, who left 
his homeland in his twenty-first year and journeyed to Virginia where, as he 
himself might have put it, he persevered and eventually prospered. 

Elijah Fletcher's life began in the small village of Ludlow, Vermont, to 
which his father had come only a few years earlier from Westford, Massachu- 
setts, as one of the first settlers. Jesse Fletcher served for two brief periods in 
the Massachusetts militia during the Revolution before striking into the northern 
wilderness with his brother, Josiah. For his homesite on the banks of the Black 
River, Jesse chose a tract of land which was enhanced by a bubbling springs 
here he built a log cabin to which he brought his young wife in 1784. Eight 
years later the cabin was replaced by a small frame house that became the ell 
of the two-story farmhouse, erected about 1 805, which is still standing today. 

Elijah was born July 28, 1789, the sixth of fifteen children.^ In the rugged, 
arduous life of early settlers, they acquired a sober respect for the nourishing 
earth, and they learned the stern lessons taught by the constant pressure of 
frugal living. The very scarcity of money increased its importance in the large 
family. 

Education, however, was considered a necessity rather than a luxury by the 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER xvi 

Fletchers, and they made every effort to enable their children to obtain some 
degree of learning. Elijah must have shown special promise as a scholar, for 
as a boy of fifteen he was sent to live with his grandmother at Westford in 
order to attend the Westford Academy' and prepare himself for college. 
After two years at Middlebury College and one at Dartmouth, he returned 
to Middlebury. Then, in the spring of 1810, he transferred to the University 
of Vermont where he received the bachelor of liberal arts degree in June of 
that year. As he explained to his father, he made the final change in order to 
get the degree required for the teaching position offered to him at the Raleigh 
Academy in North Carolina. 

This was his destination when he bade a "long farewell" to his "Dear 
Friends in Ludlow" on July 4 and turned his little bay mare's head toward 
the distant southland. When he reached Alexandria, however, he exchanged 
positions with another young teacher who went to Raleigh while Fletcher re- 
mained at the academy in the Virginia town. In May 181 1, he moved farther 
south to New Glasgow (now Clifford) in Amherst County, where he had been 
offered the presidency of the New Glasgow Academy. 

Two years later, in April 18 13, Fletcher married one of his pupils, Maria 
Antoinette Crawford, a daughter of the county clerk and wealthy landowner, 
William Sidney Crawford of "Tusculum." Crawford died in 18 15, and the 
settlement of his estate and the management of his several plantations devolved 
upon Fletcher, who soon became absorbed in business affairs and agricultural 
pursuits and gave up schoolteaching. Sometime between 18 17 and 18 19, he and 
Maria moved to Lynchburg. Their first child, Sidney, was born in 1821 and 
another son, Lucian, in 1824. A daughter, Laura, lived only a few months af- 
ter her birth in 1825. Indiana, and a twin brother who died in infancy, were 
born in 1828 and Elizabeth in 1831. 

To anyone who reads his letters, Fletcher's traits of character and person- 
ality are readily apparent and need no further amplification here, with one 
exception — his reticence about his civic activities. Not even to his family did he 
write that he was elected mayor of Lynchburg in 1831, after having served sev- 
eral terms on the town council. One has to search elsewhere for the facts about 
his public life. 

In 1822 he helped to found the first Episcopal church in Lynchburg. He was 
one of six men named as a committee to organize a congregation and raise 
money for the support of a minister. Of the twenty-eight subscribers at this 
organizational meeting, he was the largest contributor, although he was not 
listed among the first seven communicants two years later. A brief historical 
sketch of St. Paul's Church states that "no two men contributed as actively to 
the gathering of an Episcopal congregation in this town, or to the building of a 
church in which it could worship, as Chiswell Dabney and Elijah Fletcher."^ 

Although he had long since told his father that he was a slaveowner, Fletcher 



A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH xvii 

did not mention that he had joined the Lynchburg Auxiliary Colonization So- 
ciety and was elected secretary at its first annual meeting in August 1826/ 

When Henry Clay paid a visit to Lynchburg in September 1828, Elijah 
Fletcher was a member of the citizens' committee charged with making all ar- 
rangements for the festive occasion. The same }ear he was named in the charter 
granted by the \'irginia General Assembly as one of the trustees of the new 
Lynchburg Manufacturing Company, which was to produce goods of cotton, 
wool, hemp, and flax. 

He was appointed in 1826 to a small committee of eight citizens authorized 
to borrow $50,000 to finance the Lynchburg waterworks, completed three years 
later. This pioneering enterprise aroused a storm of local controversy which 
culminated in a day of unprecedented excitement, the day on which the pumps 
were put into operation, water flowed into the reservoir, and the engineers and 
the civic Watering Committee were vindicated. 

When Anne Royall, the intrepid traveler and caustic critic of persons and 
places, visited Ljnchburg that same year, she viewed the waterworks with great 
interest. The project and its promoters won a rare flash of praise in her book. 
She reported that "the water is raised from a pump-house, on the margin of the 
river, to a reservoir, 245 feet above the surface of the water in the river, a dis- 
tance of 2000 feet! . . . The height to which the water is thrown, is greater 
than in any other place in the United States; that of Philadelphia being only 
92 feet, and Cincinnati 175 feet."^ 

Elijah Fletcher's financial success as owner of a printing establishment and as 
publisher of a Lynchburg newspaper, the Virginian^ a venture which he began 
in 1825 and continued until 1841, undoubtedly contributed to his rise in civic 
prominence. Although the Virgitiian was aligned with the Whig cause, its non- 
partisan columns of agricultural information won many readers of other politi- 
cal persuasions, and it enjoyed wide circulation. 

What business Elijah Fletcher was engaged in before he bought the news- 
paper and pursued in addition to his occupation as its publisher is not known. 
Deed books show, however, that he bought and sold a great deal of land in 
Amherst County and some in Lynchburg and elsewhere. 

The Fletchers lived in comfort, even in considerable style, according to vari- 
ous contemporary observers. Their home on Lynch Street, surrounded by a 
spacious yard planted with a variety of handsome trees, overlooked the river 
and its busy traffic. Fletcher took occasion to remark, in a letter written in 1828 
to his brother Calvin, then living in Indianapolis, that "Maria has gotten herself 
a fine Barouche from Philadelphia ... an elegant match of iron gray horses 
for her carriage upon moderate terms $175 for both." 

Three years later, in March 1831, Elijah wrote to Calvin: "I am going on 
with usual prosperity' in business. ... I have lately bought a plantation which 
Maria talks of settling and spending her summers at. You may perhaps remem- 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER xviii 

ber it. It lies this side of Amherst Court House about 12 miles from here with a 
large brick house on it, containing about 1000 acres of pretty good land. It cost 
about $7000. It is paid for as well as all the rest of my property." It was Maria, 
according to her daughter Indiana's reported account, who named the planta- 
tion Sweetbrier, because of the wild roses which grew there in profusion. 

For a number of years this was the family's summer home. Fletcher increas- 
ingly spent his time there, supervising the farming operations, until this be- 
came his chief occupation. In 1841 he sold his interest in the Virginian and 
withdrew from public life, "after doing what I conceive every citizen ought to 
do ... a share of public duty which is some thing I have already done. 
When it comes to me it is shoved upon me — not sought — My disposition is for 
retirement," he confided to Calvin. 

Although they spent more and more time at Sweetbrier, the Fletchers did 
not entirely desert Lynchburg, for in 1847 Elijah wrote: "Maria and the two 
girls . . . spend but little time in Lynchburg though we keep up the establish- 
ment there so they can be there when they please. But the girls prefer the 
country to the town." It was chiefly to please his daughters that he decided to 
enlarge the house at Sweetbrier in 1851 by adding two three-story tower wings 
and an arched portico across the fagade. 

During the last decade of his life Fletcher made his home at Sweetbrier, and 
he was seldom seen in Lynchburg, especially after Maria's death in 1853. -^^ 
died at Sweetbrier in 1858, and his daughter Indiana thereafter became the 
owner of the plantation. She lived there alone until 1865, when she married the 
Reverend James Henry Williams, an Episcopal clergyman from New York. 

Education had always been one of Elijah Fletcher's primary concerns. He 
was the first member of his family to have the advantage of a college education, 
and he never forgot his debt of gratitude to his parents and to the brothers and 
sisters who helped make his education possible. From his own first earnings as 
a teacher in Alexandria he sent $100 to enable his sister Lucy to continue her 
schooling. As he wrote to his father, "A girl will be more respected with an 
education than with wealth." Many years later, in 1842, he reminded Calvin 
that "a good education is the best fortune we can give our children." He sent 
his sons to college and his daughters to good schools and gave them added ad- 
vantages through travel. 

Indiana must likewise have been guided by her father's precept and example. 
Her daughter, Daisy Williams, was sent to school in New York each winter, and 
in addition she was tutored by her mother and father. In their grief following 
Daisy's death in 1884, her sorrowing parents began to plan a lasting memorial 
to her. Gradually it took the form of an educational venture which would give 
other girls the advantages of higher learning that Daisy had never experienced. 

Sweet Briar College, established by the will of Indiana Fletcher Williams and 
chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1901, is a living expression of 



A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH xix 

the family's convictions regarding the values of education. Since its first session 
in 1906, the college has offered the "good education" which Elijah considered 
"the best fortune we can give our children." 

Elijah Fletcher had quite prophetically given his approval to Sweet Briar 
College precisely one hundred years before its first five graduates received their 
bachelor of arts degrees. In 18 10 he wrote to his father: "I think female educa- 
tion is too much neglected. They are the ones who have the first education of 
children and ought to be qualified to instruct them correctly." 

^ See Appendix I for the names and dates of the family members. " See Appendix II for receipts of 

payment for educational expenses. ^ Don P. Halsey, Historic and Heroic Lynchburg (Lynchburg, Va., 

'935)1 PP- 85-84 * Virginian (Lynchburg, Va.), Aug. 31, 1826, p. 3. ^ Anne Royall, Mn. Royall's 

Southern Tour or Second Series oj the Black Book (Washington, D.C., 1830), I, 15. "^ See letter of July 

23, 182s, and Appendix VI. 



THE LETTERS OF 
ELIJAH FLETCHER 



PART I 1808-1829 



Middlebury College 
July the 12, 1808 
Dear Sir, 

To free you from any apprehension concerning my welfare, and to let you 
know that I am at present well, I with pleasure undertake to write.' I received 
your letter of the 2 1 of June and was much delighted with its contents, to find 
those in prosperity with whom I am intimately connected, in whom my affection 
centres, and with whom I often converse in secret meditation. 

Doubtless you have heard some conversation about my leaving this College 
after I have spent two years here, and of going to Hanover to complete my 
Collegiate studies, and as the time is near at hand, which will commence a new 
year with me, I thought best to consult you on the subject. As I shall submit it to 
you to determine the question, I wish you soon to inform me what you think best. 
Although I should be content to stay here if it is your desire, I should rather 
change my situation, but to determenate whether it is best, we must consider the 
superior advantages at Dartmouth to those of this College and our pecuniary 
circumstances, perhaps the latter of which will not be essentially different at 
either place; but we shall find a material difference in the advantages. I talk some 
of coming home at commencement if I can handily obtain a chance of conveyance, 
and should not wish you to put yourself at the trouble to send for me. 

Receive these lines from one who still remains your dutiful child, 

Elijah Fletcher 

^The letters in Part I are addressed, unless otherwise indicated, by Elijah Fletcher to his father, Jesse 
Fletcher, in Ludlow, Vermont. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 4 

Burlington 
April 20, 1 8 10 
Dear Sir, 

After I left home with my brethren in the Stage, with some difficulty 
occasioned by bad going, we arrived at Crarys about ten of the Clock. There I 
parted with Michael and Timothy not without a tear of affection at the thought 
of a long and perhaps final separation. They went across to the Creek road, it 
being a mile and a half, instead of going around by Rutland which was twelve 
miles. 

The next day I arrived at Middlebury and found affairs all regular but in 
some measure different from what I expected. The small Pox had struck such 
terror into the inhabitants and schollars that they had made a vacation of five 
weeks. I found in the Middlebury post Office another letter from Raleigh, North 
Carolina, renewing their requests to have me engage to teach their Academy,^ 
obviating the objections which I stated by stating that I might defer the time to 
the first of August — which to be sure is earlier than our Commencement — but the 
thoughts of six hundred dollars per year has such influence upon my mind that I 
am employed in contriving a plan for affecting the object. I conversed with the 
government at Middlebury on the subject who thought they could not give me a 
degree without I tarried till Commencement. I have come on to Burlington who 
tell me they will give me a degree without staying till commencement." Now if I 
can borrow fifty dollars of money and you will be so good as to sell and trust me 
for a horse, I shall be ready for the expedition. 

Give me your advise on this interesting subject as soon as possible. I shall 
remain here during the vacation at Mid [dlebury ] , if not longer. Write me as 
soon as possible that I may know what course to take. 

Elijah Fletcher 

^Raleigh Academy, founded in 1800, opened in 1804 (Charles E. Coon, North Carolina Schools and 
Academies 1790—1840 [Raleigh, N.C., 1915], pp. 388, 389). ^ Fletcher's diploma for a Bachelor of 

Liberal Arts degree from the University of Vermont is dated June 10, 18 10. 



To Jesse Fletcher , jun. 

Albany 
July 6, 1 8 10 
Timothy is well, or at least in no apparent danger. He has had something of a 
fit of sickness, something of a fever. The docters care of him cost 6 dollars. He 
has had motherly care taken of him by Mrs. Robinson, where he and Michael 
board. He has left Messrs E. D. Smiths. They obtained another clerk while he 
was sick and want him no longer. I find him quite contented and satisfied with his 
situation. I imagine there is no danger of his returning home at present to disturb 



PART I: 1808-1829 5 

you. He seems determined to bear down all opposition and gain a living 
independent of friends, not but that he stands in need of their assistance and 
gladly receives it when cheerfully granted. Little favors in clothing will be of 
essential service to him at present, which can be granted without any material 
detriment to the family. I dare say he has a disposition to recompense you when 
circumstances will permit. 

I arrived here this day about 2 of the clock. Prosperity has thus far attended 
me. The day I left Ludlow I traveled to Manchester — 32. The next morning 
proceeded on to Arlington — 8 miles — was informed there that Gov. Galusha was 
at Manchester at a Muster.^ This was perplexing. I always feel sorry to go 
backwards, but it was now necessary. I returned, gave him my letters of 
recommendation. He cheerfully gave me one with his signature in return. He is 
an accommodating man. His wxiting is as poor as Stevens and he appears very 
slow in performing it. From thence to Benington. I have enquired for Governor 
Tichener" but learnt he had gone a fishing — another disappointment. I must stay 
till he returned, which was two hours. In the mean while I called upon Senator 
Robinson,^ who gave me a letter. I then called upon the ex-Governor [Tichenor], 
who treated me with much ceremony and respect, invited me to drink a glass of 
wine and take tea with him. The latter I declined, telling him I was in great haste 
to proceed on my journey. Left Benington and proceeded 10 miles further and 
called for entertainment in Pittstown, New York. This day with me will be 
memorable as passing the confines of my native State. 

The present day I have arrived from Pittstown. Called in Troy, took dinner 
with my friends in Troy. Michael is here in health and cheerful spirits. He has 
just come in, I have conversed with him but a few moments. I can tell you 
nothing of him or his circumstances in this. I shall have further opportunity to 
talk with him, the substance of which I will communicate in mv next. I have now 
and then hypocondriacal or melancholy reflection, when I consider I have seven 
hundred miles to travel, with nineteen or twenty dollars to bear my expenses. 
However, I will do the best I can. I am in no fear of starving, although I must 
live prudently. It is not much probable I shall dispose of my horse here, yet I do 
not know. It does not weary me to ride. The mare travels well and appears 
capable of carrying me [on? ] my journey. I do not know as I have anything 
further to write. 

I wish you all well, but perhaps you will wish for some evidence of the 
sincerity of my wishes, which I pledge my honor you shall receive whenever my 
circumstance will permit. Farewell. 

Elijah Fletcher 

'Jonas Galusha (1753— 1834), governor of Vermont, 1809—13; 1815-20. ^ Isaac Tichenor (1754— 

1838), governor of Vermont, 1797-1807, 1808-9. ^Jonathan Robinson (1756-1819), U.S. senator 

from Vermont, 1807—15. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 6 

Washington City 
July 17, 1 8 10 
Dear Sir, 

Thus far have I proceeded on my route. After I left Albany I passed down the 
Hudson to Fishkill Landing and crossed into Newburgh, being informed it was 
the nearest way to Phelidelphia. Hence through New Windsor, Goshen court 
house, Florida, Warwick, and then into New Jersey, through Sussex Coimty 
into Morris county, crossed the Delaware into Bucks county, and so forth. After 
something of a tedious journey I have arrived in this place. I have travelled 
much in the interior of the States, preferred it to travelling on the Sea Coast or 
through Capital towns. By travelling in the interior I perceive the manners of 
the vulgar or commonality, the mode of cultivation and the quality of the soil. I 
find things quite different from what I expected. 

Upon the Banks of the Hudson is truly excellent Land and some fine 
plantations, but upon butiful farms the inhabitants look indigent, although I 
learn they are wealthy Dutchmen. I have seen more log houses since I left home 
than I ever saw in Vermont. I find it is the principal manner of building in these 
parts, especially in New Jersey and Maryland. In Pennsylvania there are many, 
and in fact most all, stone houses and barns. This State is chiefly inhabited by the 
Germans, an inhospitable, ignorant, uncouth set — Mr. Ray gives a correct 
description of them. The front side of their houses is always from the road or 
what we should term the back part. Although I have found no place yet as dry 
and hot as the deserts of Arabia, yet I have found N.J. as little inhabited as the 
wilds of Siberia. Two miles from Baltimore the land is covered with shrub- 
oaks and uninhabited. 

It is forty-six miles from Baltimore to this place on a road of much travel, but 
scarcely an inhabitant upon it, not even enough for accommodation for travellers. 
I have called at some taverns in this State after a stage of ten or fifteen miles and 
enquired for oats, they had none — for hay, they had none — for grass, none, but 
perhaps a little corn. I would then inquire for butter, they had none — for cheese, 
they had none, and in fact nothing fit for men or beast. The people in general are 
poor, but now and then I find a good tavern where expenses are very high — a 
half a dollar for supper or breakfast, a dollar for dinner, a quarter of a dollar for 
lodging and other things in proportion. I have a little money yet remaining — 
how long it will last I can't tell. I keep my mare well and starve myself. 

I shall leave this place early tomorrow morning. I shall sell my horse whenever 
I have an opportunity. I have almost three hundred miles yet to travel. 
Farewell ! Farewell. My love to maam and all the family, 

Elijah Fletcher 



PART I: 1808-1829 7 

Alexandria, Virginia 
August 4, 1 8 10 
Dear Sir, 

I am at my place of destination although not at Raleigh. I left Washinton soon 
after I wrote you last & proceeded on my journey to this place, where I made a 
stop intending to recruit or sell my mare. To do the former would take much 
time, and the latter I found impracticable. In the mean time I found acquaintance 
with a young man of the name of Brooks in the same employment here that I was 
to enter upon at Raleigh. He had friends at North Carolina and solicited an 
exchange of situation. I thought best to do it, consequently gave him my letters 
of agreement with Mr. Turner^ and undertook to discharge his functions here. 
He was a young man who supported a fair character here and obtained suitable 
recommendations, otherwise I should not have imposed upon them so much or to 
have sent him on. I dont know how I should have been pleased if I had gone to 
Raleigh, but I will assure you I am satisfied and contented with my present 
situation. I think I have made a good exchange. I know it is equally profitable 
and I doubt not it will be equally pleasant. I had fatigued and wearied my mare 
much. She is very poor, sorebacked and shabbed. Keeping is high, horses in little 
demand. I shall sell her soon if she brings me not more than twenty dollars. 

I tarried in Washington City till the middle of the next day after I wrote you, 
saw a few of our great men such as general Wilkinson,^ secretary Smith,^ and the 
like. The President [Madison] had retired to his country seat at Montpelier. I 
also on that morning saw a duel fought between two of our young Naval oiBcers, 
occasioned by an altercation too trifling and boyish for rehearsal. The[y] 
marched to a place at little distance from the Navy yard accompanied by their 
seconds and after preparations, shot three times each, but neither killed nor 
wounded nor hurt. The seconds then held a converse and amicably adjusted the 
disturbance. So these great men magnanimously left the field of glory without 
scar or wound. 

I have met with no other incident of consequence till I arrived here somethinly 
fatigued and exhausted with the labors of my journey. The happiness and 
pleasure arising from my present pleasant and profitable situation I think 
compensates for past troubles. I encountered many, as you well know, before I 
left Vermont. What I have since I shall not tell in this epistle. My inability and 
dependence made me miserable while with you. My enemies cared little for me 
and my friends distrusted me. They feared I was leading them into difficulty and 
running them in debt, but whether such things happen or not, time can only tell. 
I shall not myself attempt to say. But I can say such was my determination when 
I left home that nothing but death or a total deprivation of corporeal strength 
would prohibit me paying my distrusted and at best fast-bound debt of gratitude. 
I would have rather labored in the field with the negro slave and so earned a 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 8 

recompense for your kindness than have involved you in difficulty. Either 
fortunately or unfortunately — I don't know which to term it — my friends have 
even doubted my affection for the family and said my motives were all selfish, I 
had a care for nothing but to aggrandise myself. Although these reflections when 
hinted to me have been painful, yet now I rejoice at them, for I am sensible they 
wont be disappointed unless happily disappointed. 

I have before told you and I can repeat it again, my situation is in every respect 
agreeable. I board in a nice genteel family and have only fifteen scholars under 
my instruction. I also feel independent, have two negroes at my service and live 
considerably at my ease. The planter with whom I board is General Mason,'* a 
man of note and respectability, his family very agreeable, social, affable and easy. 
I use as much freedom in the family as I did at my fathers house. I doubt not of 
their kindness to me in health or sickness. My employment is respectable and I 
consider my standing upon par and equality with most of the people. Our living is 
rich and what in Vermont would be called extravagant. The family rise very late 
in the morning and consequently do not have breakfast till eight or nine. Our 
dinner at three and tea at eight in the evening. 

I find the climate more pleasant and agreeable than I expected. Since my 
residence here it has been cool and rainy. I learn from inquiry uncommonly so for 
the season. I have at present no doubt but the climate will suit my constitution. If 
I should be sick I think I should have no reason to impute it to a change of 
climate but to the same cause as though in Vermont. I hope you nor maam will 
give yourselves any troubles about my being sick. 

I am so satisfied with my employment, so pleased with the people, and so 
agreeably situated every other way that I would not exchange my situation for 
any I ever held in Vermont. To be sure I find the manners and customs of the 
Virginians different from the people in the North, but the difference I think 
habit will soon make a pleesing one. The Virginians are very fond of sports and 
social amusemts. They hold them very frequently, such as Barbecues and private 
parties. As to Barbecues, I have attended one since here and find them novel and 
amusing. I shall not attempt to describe it. Docter Luthre can tell you what they 
are.^ The Virginian has certain open-hearted liberal sentiments, a certain noble 
spirit and social feeling, which distinguish him from the Yankee or selfish, 
narrow, earthborn-souled Vermonter. 

Our land is not all Arabian desert nor scorching pine plains. It resembles in 
some degree the old land in Massachusetts, but more forests of oak, walnut, 
chestnut, and hickery, and it is not cultivated so well. The Negro, who reaps no 
fruit for his labor, feels no interest in making the soil rich and producing a large 
crop, but works like an ox or our little boys, frequently casting an eye to the sun 
to see if it is not noon and then to see if it is not night. The staple commodity or 
most general crop is wheat and corn. They have abandoned the cultivation of 
Tobacco in a great degree, it requiring a very rich soil and much attention, they 



PART I: 1808-1829 9 

do not find it profitable. Gotten is also raised here, but not in great abundance; 
perhaps sufficient for home consumption. The [torn] is very poor, make no 
[cheese? ] . I have not seen any since I have been here. They will have a little in 
the winter which is brought from New England. 

Sir, I want you should agree with Pomroy and send me The Washingtonian.^ 
I shall want to hear from Vermont in some such way. I hope you or Lucy will 
write to me as often as once in two months, and oftener if anything extraordinary 
happens in the family. I shall be able to send you a hundred dollars by the first of 
November if you will trust [several lines crossed out] . 

I last week celebrated in silence and melancholy my day of freedom, for on the 
twenty-eighth of July (according to tradition) I was one and twenty. I spent the 
day in meditating upon past, present, and future events. I considered my career 
of life commenced and that I had yet to act [illegible] unprotected and in a great 
measure uninstructed by kind parents, yet I indulged a fond hope that they 
would still be my advisers and admonishers as circumstances required. I also 
reflected upon the situation of our family with much solicitude and at the same 
time with some pleasure. I trusted they were all doing well, [four lines crossed 
out] 

He told me he had some ideaof going to [four words crossed out]. I 
dissuaded [him] from it, and advised him to steer towards the [Ohio? ] . What he 
will do, God only knows. I have no hopes of his doing well. I hope you will not 
in any way convey to him my sentiments. I shall write no more in this letter. 

Give my love and respects to maam and all the family and others of my 
friends, and so your son Elijah bids you once more adieu. 

' The Reverend William L. Turner, of Lexington, Va., was appointed superintendent of the Raleigh 
Academy in 1806 (Coon, o/>. c/V., p. 396). Gen. James Wilkinson ( I 757— I 825), whose career of intrigue 

and double-dealing was well launched by this date. A close associate of Aaron Burr, he had turned into the 
chief witness against Burr at his trial in 1807 and had himself narrowly escaped indlctmenti in 1810 he was 
again summoned to an inquiry, but was acquitted by a court martial late in 181 1 (D.A.B.^ XX, 222—26). 
^Robert Smith (1757-1842), Secretary of the Navy, 1802-5; Secretary of State, 1809-11 (WAo Was Who 
in America [Chicago, 1963], p. 493). * Evidence supplied by a Mason genealogist, Melvin Lee Stead- 

man, Jr., of Gainesville, Va., indicates that this was Thomson Mason (1759— 1820), third son and fourth 
child of George Mason of Gunston Hall and Ann Eilbeck Mason. Thomson Mason married Sarah McCarty 
Chichester, and they had nine children. Eight are listed in an agreement among the heirs of Thomson Mason, 
dated Oct. 23, 1820 (Thomson Francis Mason Papers, Duke University Library). ^ This could be Luther 

(1780— 1821), a son of Jesse's brother Josiah Fletcher, who began practicing medicine in 1810 and died at 41 
in Granville, N.Y. He was called "as able a physician as Ludlow ever had" (Joseph N. Harris, The His/ory 
of Ludlotv [Charlestown, N.H., 1949], p. 107). ^ A weekly paper established July 23, 1810, in Windsor, 

Vt., by Josiah Dunham and printed by Thomas Pomroy (Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of 
American Neuspapers^ 16^0—1820 [Worcester, Mass., 1947], H, 1103), 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 10 

To Jesse Fletcher, jun. 

Alexandria, Virginia, part of the District of Columbia^ 

August 29, 1 8 10 

I have now resided here more than a month. I have written home once, I have 
received no answer. I have had a return from Michael in Albany, telling he 
should leave the city the day after he wrote, 1 3 August. He said his course would 
be to New York, thence to Pennsylvania, and he thought probable to the State of 
Ohio. 

I have had perfect health, as yet, and continue in lively spirits. There has been 
a few very warm days but I have experienced as much inconvenence from cold, as 
heat, since here. I do not know but you will think me troublesome, in writing too 
often. If you do, let me know it, and I will desist. 

You know the circumstances of my leaving home, with only twenty dollars, to 
travel on a long, and strange journey. I did that which I hope I never shall have 
occasion to do again. I experienced many hardships, and underwent many 
fatigues. I do not want the people in Ludlow to know my poverty, but I will tell 
you of my wants and economy while travelling. I knew what I had to do, and 
what I had to do it with 5 and I endeavored to regulate my expenses 
proportionably to my finances. 

I shall give you no account how I lived before I arrived at Albany. It was some 
better, to be sure, for I calculated to get assistance from Michael. I must feed my 
horse well, or I was gone at once. I gave her half a bushel oats every day, and put 
her up with hay at night, and always baited her with hay, which, generally, cost 
me 7/6 per day. I thought best to keep her to hay, for sometimes I slept where 
they had no grass, or if they had, it was very poor, and it would not do to give 
her one meal of grass, and then one of hay. I generally rode about forty miles a 
day, sometime more, and sometime less. I arose early in the morning, rode ten 
miles and baited, ten more and baited again, ten more and baited ; then ten, and 
put up over night. This was my daily task. 

I have told you how I kept my horse, I will now tell you how I lived myself. 
The first day after I left Albany, I rode till the last baiting in the afternoon, and 
stopped at a Dutch tavern, and called for some bread and cheese. I ate no more 
that day. The next day I had the fortune, or misfortune, to fall in company with 
a young man. I considered it a fortune, because it rained, and I had the pleasure 
of riding in his chaise; a misfortune because, when I am in company, I always 
make it a point to support the character of a gentleman, and bare an equal share 
of the expenses. I had to buy this day two meals of victuals, which with drink and 
other expenses lightened my purse much. 

The next day I jogged on, every now and then hefting my purse, and 
continually contriving some plan to diminish my expenses. The first call I made, 
I told them I was unwell, I could not eat any breakfast, I wanted some milk to 
drink. They gave me a pint which I drank and went on ; called at noon and told 



PART I: 1S0S-1S29 11 

them, I could not stay for dinner, I only wanted a piece of bread and cheese and a 
little milk to drink, for it injured my health much to drink spirituous liquors. 
Thus I went on, called for nothing more till night, except now and then a little 
milk, or milk and water, of the Dutch girls, which they would kindly give me. It 
would frequently be sour milk, or butter milk. I called once this day and asked 
for milk. The good woman wanted to know if I chose sweet milk? No, I told her, 
I did not want my milk sweetened. She says: you don't understand me, do you 
want sweet milk or sour? I laughed at my mistake, and told her I was a Yankee; 
I preferred sweet milk. Where I put up over night I called for nothing but a 
little milk to drink, telling my landlord, when he asked me if I wanted supper : I 
dined ver)' late in the afternoon, and had no appetite to eat any more. Thus did 
pride struggle against poverty, thus did I support the character of a liberal 
gentleman, and lived like a poor beggar, eating nothing during the day but a 
little bread and cheese for dinner. The milk I drank had much nourishment in it, 
and cost me but very little. 

The next day at my first stage, which was in New Jersey, I called for a pint of 
bread and milk, which I gave ninepence," or what they call an Eleven fewny bit 
for, and travelled through the day wearied with riding, and exhausted with 
hunger. I was afraid such living would make me sick indeed, but I was cheered 
with the hopes of future prospects and laughed to think how I tried to appear like 
a gentleman, when I was as poor as Job's Cats. I called this night at an Irish 
tavern, called for nothing but a little bread and milk. I went to bed, and slept but 
very little, for the house was full of swearing, drinking, Irish gamblers. They 
tried to get me into their company before I went to bed. I told them mildly I was 
unacquainted with their game, and thus excused myself. I asked my landlord for 
my portmanteau, when I went to bed, telling him I should want to change my 
cloathes, when in fact I was afraid to trust them with him. I spent a restless night, 
with many fears, and apprehensions of robery, murder, and the like, but was so 
fortunate as to find myself alive the next morning, and not robbed of my rich 
treasures. 

I this morning made an early start, and travelled without eating a mouthful 
till noon, when I called at Qakertown, at a Quaker tavern, and ate a little biscuit 
and milk. When I was ready to start I asked the landlady how much I must pay. 
She said three Fippenny bits. I told her I did not know how much that was. I 
gave her some change, and told her to take her pay. She took three four- 
pence happennies, and I rode on laughing at my ignorance, and pleased with the 
new mode of reckoning seven and sixpence for a dollar. I this afternoon passed 
the Delaware river into Pennsylvania. I saw the girls with their short gowns, and 
little aprons tied about the waist, as was the fashion in Vermont as long ago as I 
can remember. I was much more pleased with the land, and appearance of this 
state. All their houses, barns and sheds are built of stone. I ate nothing this day 
exc. the biscuit and milk at noon, and now and then drinking a pint of milk. I had 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 12 

now got almost past the want of food. I was surprised to think how little we could 
do with, when necessity had once made it customary. 

I put up over night at a Dutch tavern and started early the next morning, and 
at nine o'clock, the gnawings of hunger compelled me to buy some bred and 
cheese. Told them as usual I could not stay for breakfast. This day was extremely 
warm and uncomfortable riding, 1 2th July, but I sweat it through. In the 
afternoon called for a little more bread and cheese, and thus passed this day. 
Sometimes diverted with seeing the Dutch and Qaker girls and women with the 
men reaping, cradling, and binding grain, and sometime delighted with hearing 
the German gabble in his native languague. The people were now at the heighth 
of their harvest. I never before saw such extensive fields of heavy rye and wheat. 
When they had bound and stacked their grain, the stacks appeared almost to 
cover the ground. 

July 1 3 I had the company of a young man who carried the mail. He was a 
native of Vermont. According to my practice when in company, I had to buy two 
meals of victuals. I was hungry enough to have eaten and devoured every thing 
upon the table. Prudence forbad it. I had been so long without food, to satiate my 
appetite now would make me sick. I consequently ate very little. July 14 it rained 
in the morning but I made no stop. I thought it necessary to go without food this 
day, I had been so extravagant the preceeding. I ate nothing except a two- 
cent cake, which I bought of an old man, till night when I asked for some bread 
and milk. They brought me a glass of milk and a slice of bread. I ate the bread 
thinking it a delicious repast, drank the milk and went to bed to rest my weary 
bones with travel tired! I was soon closed in the arms of deaths brother, sleep, 
but a tired body made an agitated mind and I spent the night in restless 
tumbling, and strange dreams. 

The next day was Sabbath. About nine oclock I passed into Maryland, stopped 
at a tavern, called for some bread and milk. They gave me a glass of milk and a 
slice of bread. I began to learn they did not know how to make bread and milk 
spoon victuals. I ate it for breakfast and called for nothing more except milk to 
drink during the day. When I stopped to bait in Frederictown, in the afternoon, 
I enquired for milk but they had none. I was very thirsty. I could not drink their 
limestone water. I told the landlord to sweeten me some water and put in half 
glass brandy, which I drank, the first I had tasted since I left New York, and 
upon my empty stomach it almost made me drunk. This day I travelled fifty 
miles but to my vexation I learnt at night I had travelled ten miles out of my 
direct course. After I left Philidelphia, I did not travel the direct road, or 
turnpike, but took a back road, which they told me was cheaper, although some 
further. This road being not so direct, I missed the right one. 

The day following I saw herds of negroes in fields — men, women and children, 
some dressed in rags, and others without any cloathes. About nine of the clock, I 
came to a river (Monocan). I saw no boat, I thought it was fordable. I attempted 



PART I: 1808-1829 13 

to cross it but did not go in the right place, as I afterwards learnt, and got all over 
in. I stuck to my horse and swam him safely to the other shore — all wet myself as 
well as my cloathes in my portmanteau. I soon came to a little hut, and asked a 
small girl at the door how far it was to an Ordinary, for such they call taverns. 
She told me they kept one there. I got off my horse and went in. I thought it was 
an ordinary indeed. No body at home, but the girl and another little bare- 
assed child. I told her my misfortune and desired her to make a fire that I might 
dry my cloathes. I felt hungery, anxious, and much provoked to think I must stay 
two or three hours to dry my cloathes, but I had endeavored to make the best of 
all misfortune, and not despond at trifles. I asked the little girl for some milk; 
she brought a dirty pint tin cup full. I asked her for some bread, she said they had 
none baked, but she would bake a cake by the fire for me. She soon made what 
you call a jonny cake and baked it. I ate a little of it, dryed myself and travelled 
on my way, rejoicing that I had escaped being drowened. 

I need not give you any further specimens of my prudence and economy. I did 
what I once thought I could not do and I wonder myself it had not made me 
sick — to labor as hard as I did, riding thirty, forty, and fifty miles per day, and 
eat nothing more than a dish of bread and milk or a piece of bread and cheese. 
From this trial, I have learnt that we can accomplish almost any thing, if we have 
courage, and perseverance. I ate only five regular meals from Albany to the City 
of Washington. I had when I arrived there eight dollars and when I arrived here 
but four. There were other expenses; besides those of myself and horse, I had a 
number of ferries to cross and some turnpike gates to pass through, and the boy 
who washed down my horse, brushed my boots, and held the stirrup for me to get 
on, would turn up a wishful eye and expect a fippenny, or eleven-penny bit. They 
would even be so greedy sometimes as to ask me for it. I could not have rode any, 
or much, farther without selling my horse. I think I was very fortunate in 
meeting with the opportunity I did. I keep my mare yet. I do not value her very 
highly. She is not worth so much here as she would be with you. She is not of the 
right form and carriage to suit the people here. They want a slick, fat horse that 
paces, canters, and goes all ways but trots. Pacing horses are in the highest 
estimation. Except for carriages they have no trotting horses. I am not at present 
very anxious to sell my mare. I turn her into General Masons pasture. He asks 
me nothing for keeping. 

The manners, and customs, and conduct of the inhabitants are something 
different here from what they are in Vermont. The planters and their sons 
appear and dress with rich and neat apparel. They live in idleness and some in 
dissipation. Hunting is a very prevalent diversion. Some planters keep fifteen or 
twenty hounds, and most all five, or six. They allways ride when they hunt. They 
will ride through the forest with great speed, as easy as you could run. But woods 
here are not like yours — all the timber is of the second growth, and but very little 
underbrush. Deer and foxes are the principal game, which are as plenty here as 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 14 

with you. Five or six men with their dogs will go out most any day and kill a 
deer, but they are careful to go upon no persons land, but their own. It would be 
as much of a crime for one man to kill a deer upon another mans farm, as it would 
to kill a sheep. I last Sunday saw a young man with fifteen hounds chasing a grey 
fox; the poor creature got almost tired out, and run into General Masons garden 
where the dogs caught it. 

The land here is old, and very much worn out. It bears very good wheat and 
corn. The corn is a very large kind, grows almost twice as high and the ear is 
twice as big as yours. It takes it much longer to come to maturity than it does your 
small corn to the North. It would not succeed with you, the summers are not long 
enough. It is now just about fit to roast. They have very good orchards, both 
peach and apple; of the former they make peach brandy, and the latter, cider, 
which put in bottles is equal to wine. Peaches and apples and watermellons and 
muskmelons are now ripe and we have them in great abundance. 

The rich planters have from fifty to an hundred negroes. They buy, and sell 
them, as we do our cattle. They are very valuable property. A negro man is 
worth five hundred dollars, a woman not so much. They drive many from this 
state to South Carolina and Georgia. Some men make it their principal business to 
buy droves of them, and drive off, as our drivers do cattle. [The?] greater part 
of them have some kind of cloathing except the children who [go most?]ly 
naked. They have but very little to eat and are under the constant eye of an over- 
seerer, who makes them work from sunrise, till sunset. They give them all their 
weeks allowance on Sunday, which must last them the week out. They whip them 
for every little offence most cruelly. I recollect last week. General Mason sent 
one of them two or three miles with some message. He was rather lazy, and 
thought he would have a ride. He went into the pasture, and caught my mare, 
and took a little negro boy on behind him, and rode off. It was found out soon, 
and when he returned they first tied up the boy and whipt him about a quarter 
of an hour, and he was begging and praying, yelling to a terrible rate. They 
then took the man, and I will assure you, they shew him no mercy. The more 
he cried and begged pardon, the more they whipt and in fact I thought they 
would have killed the poor creature. I told them I did not care any thing for the 
ride of the mare. They said it would not do to indulge them. They must whip 
them till they were humble and obedient. General Mason has about sixty of 
them. He has a very large plantation. His house is at a little distance from 
the centre of business upon a small eminence, from which I can see the vessels 
passing up and down the river.^ He has his weaver, his blacksmith, his carpenter, 
his shoemaker, as is the general practice with very independent planters. Each 
one knows his place and business and every thing is conducted with the greatest 
order. 

I am about eight miles from Mount Vernon, formerly the seat of General 
Washington, now of Judge Bushrod Washinton. I have been introduced to 
Judge Washington, he has visited here once or twice since I have been here. I 



PART I: 1808-1829 15 

calculate to ride out to his seat before long. The more I become acquainted with 
my situation the more I am pleased with it. To be sure I have to use some 
industry and discretion to keep my school in proper order but the task is nothing 
so laborious as to teach a common school in Vermont. I have found no difficulty as 
yet in governing my scholars. Their age is from thirteen to twenty. They appear 
to be very studious and tractable in learning. I find them much better than I 
expected. 

I cannot yet make a certain estimate of my profits this year, for I do not know 
how much my expenses will be. I shall [six lines blotted out] . You know best 
what you can do with Stephen. I hope our father will be able to spare him to go 
to school. I think it the best thing can be done with him. We must remember the 
[sisters? ] . They labor hard for us and we ought to repay them. In fact we must 
help one another all we can. When we help any of the family we help ourselves. 
I feel as anxious for their prosperity as I do for my own, and let me be ever so 
rich while my father, mother, brothers, or sisters are poor or needy, I am 
unhappy. 

I have written to friend Barton since I have been here. I wrote something of a 
lovely insulting letter, calling him friend Caleb and my instructor in lying, 
cheating, and horse-jockeying. I have had a letter from Mr. Brooks since he 
arrived at Raleigh. He tells me he does not like the situation of the place so well 
as he does this, that it is much warmer there and the people in some distress for 
the want of water. 

I sent in my last letter for a paper which if dady wants to read, he may take 
first and then send to me, but be very careful to put it in to the post office as soon 
as possible. If he does take it in this manner, tell Stephen I shall trust to him for 
putting it into the Post office. I suppose before now you have finished haying and 
harvesting. They have been done here two months. I have thought of you many 
times since I came from home. I have thought how hard you and Stephen and 
dady would have to work to collect your hay and grain. I hope you will take the 
heft of the labor upon yourself. Remember our father is old, he has labored for 
us, it is our turn now to assist him. I shall myself ever think it a pleasure to do 
anything for his happiness. I cannot write any more, my paper is gone. I am your 
Brother forever, 

Elijah Fletcher 

^Alexandria was in the District of Columbia from 1791 to 1846. ^ The use of English currency terms 

was common in Lynchburg "right up to the early 1900's . . . mostly [by] country people, white and colored, 
who traded at the Old City Market. You'd ask them the price of a small broiling chicken and they'd say 
'a shilling.' You were supposed to know that they valued a shilling at 16^ cents. So you paid them 17 
cents. , . . Another monetary term they used was 'ninepence.* . . . The valuation they gave it was I2j/^ 
cents" (letter by E. L. Smithson in David Wright's column, "Seen and Heard," in the Daily Advance 
[Lynchburg], Aug. 6, 1963). ^General Mason's seat was Hollin Hall, near Alexandria; he also owned 

a town house, according to Mr. Steadman in a letter dated Feb. 6, 1964. "The year the peace was signed in 
Paris (17S3) . . . Thomson married Sarah Chichester and they named their house, the building of which 
occasioned Colonel (George) Mason great interest and pleasure, Hollin Hall, for Hollin Hall in Yorkshire, 
England. It was from there that the Thomson family had come" (Marian Buckley Cox, Glimpse of Glory 
[Richmond, 1954], p. 184). Thomson Mason had fought in the Revolution and was a comrade-in-arms and 
friend of George Rogers Clark {ibid., pp. 166, 171). 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 16 

Alexandria, Virginia 
Oct. I St, 1 8 10 Monday morning, 5 o,clock 
Dear Sir, 

Yours of the 20 August came to my hand 6 September. I thought then I 
wished I could always feel as happy as when receiving inteligence of yours and 
the families health and prosperity. I was pleased with the whole of your letter 
and particularly with the good and wholesome advise you gave me. It indicated a 
parental fondness and experimental wisdom. I continue in prosperity myself and 
yet live contented. You have, or at least Jesse, probably received a letter from me 
since you wrote me, which contains part of the information you desired me to 
communicate. I will in this insert the rest with whatever else I think of. 

As for Stephens going to learning, I advocate the plan, if practicable. I think a 
little advantages for an education is the best portion you can give him. If he is 
industrious and makes a good scholar, I shall be willing myself to assist him. If 
you can keep him at school two years and he makes good advancement in study, I 
can get him into business here, by which he can earn three or four hundred 
dollars a year. There are frequent applications for private instructors by 
gentlemen in the country and an employment of that kind is very honorable and 
easy. They scarcely ever have district schools here, but every planter has his 
schoolhouse and hires a private instructor. I think this will be the best thing you 
can do with Stephen and if he want [s] to go through College, let him go through 
after he has earned something for himself. It will be best to have him tend some 
good district school next winter and after that is through, go to some Academy. I 
will give further advise about it in future letters. 

As for Lucy, going to school a quarter I think is the first object. I have been 
sorry many times that I had been so expensive as to deprive the girls of all 
privileges for a decent education. It will cost but very little, she will probably 
have earned half enough the summer past. I say again, if you ever think to give 
them any thing, give it to those who desire it in that way, in schooling. A girl will 
be more respected with an education than with wealth. I think female education 
is too much neglected. They are the ones who have the first education of children 
and ought to be qualified to instruct them correctly. I shall send you a hundred 
dollars next month by which you may be enabled to assist Lucy. It may be too 
late now for this fall ; if so, let her defer it till next spring. There is a very good 
female Academy and the cheapest I know of in Claremont [N.H.]. I am sensible 
of the girls kindness to me as to all their brothers and feel it my duty to assist 
them when possible. 

As to the religion of the place we have every kind. Alexandria is a town 
containing about nine thousand souls^ and they are divided into various sects and 
denominations. I don't know myself how many churches there are in town. I 
know they have Methodist, Roman Catholic, Presbyterians, Quaker, two 
episcopalian,^ and a babtist meetinghouse. No Universalist but many Nothingists, 



PART I: 1808-1829 17 

no congregationalist. I always attend the Episcopalian and conform to the 
religion of the family and the Principal of the Academy. The Methodist are 
more numerous here than with you. Some of the rich planters are of this order, a 
great many of the lower class, and some of their slaves. Very few masters give 
their slaves any advantages for religion and very few but are totally ignorant and 
careless about such things. I sometime walk out upon the plantation and take 
pleasure in asking the laboring negroes questions and talking with them. I find 
them very ignorant, some scarcely knowing the meaning of God but others more 
sensible and inteligent. 

General Mason is of no sect ; his wife an Episcopalian. She takes much pains to 
teach her small children morality. She has requested me to to take charge of her 
three younger children^ on Sabbath and teach them their catechise. General 
Mason is a republican, as also the majority of the people, but they may boast as 
much as they please of their liberty and equality. Their actions give the lie to 
their professions. Their is no more equality between the rich and poor than their 
is in the most despotic government. The rich man or man in honorable business 
can live respected and happy here but the poor and dependent must be miserable. 
Their is no country, I believe, where property is more unequally distributed than 
in Virginia. We can see here and there a stately palice or mansion house; while 
all around for many miles we behold no other but little smoaky huts and log 
cabins of poor, laborious, ignorant tenants. These tenants, when they approach 
their lord, must have their hat in hand and cringe, and bow, and tremble, like the 
meanest slave. In fact they are but very little above the blacks. It is no uncommon 
thing here for men to be unable to read and write. The poor have no chance at all 
for an Education. This is their boasted liberty and Equality! ! 

General is a man about your age. He follows no particular business, reads 
considerable, and does other occasional business. He owns very large possessions. 
He has, beside his home plantation, four others five or six miles distance. He has 
about fifty negroes on this plantation and as many more on his other. He has 
nearly twenty house servants, such as his ostler, gardners, spinners, cooks, 
waiters, &c. &c. He keeps twenty good-looking cows but they dont all give more 
than two pailfuls of milk at this time, which is occasioned partly by poor pastures 
and partly by being milked poorly by the slaves. 

The corporation of the Academy* is much like those in the northern States and 
the funds very large, I dont know precisely the amount of them. There are three 
Instructors in the Academy. The Principal by the name of Solander, formerly a 
clergyman, teaches Mathematics, Geography, &c. I teach the Languages and one 
branch of Mathematics, and another young man who teaches English grammer 
and other inferior branches. V^^hen I first wrote you, it was the beginning of a 
quarter and some scholars had left and others not then come in. I have now about 
twenty under my care. The whole number in the Academy upwards of sixty. The 
scholars pay ten dollars per quarter for tuition and four dollars for board. It is 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 18 

not thought here that an instructor can pay proper attention to more than fifteen 
or twenty scholars and in fact they cannot any where and do their duty. Your 
county schools in the north are much too large for profit. 

The distance of this from Washington in a strait course is not more than ten 
miles. It is contained in what they call the District of Columbia and I believe it 
will be better to direct your letters to District of Columbia instead of Virginia. 
The course of this from Washington is south east. There is a packet passing from 
one place to the other every day. Alexandria is situated on the river Potomac, one 
of the largest, handsomest, and most commercial cities in Virginia. The situation 
is pleasant and elevated, the city is built on the plan of Philadelphia, the streets 
are as wide if not wider than those of that city. The trade of Alexandria is very 
considerable; ships of almost any burthen can ride in the river. The Academy is 
situated back from the center of the city and my boarding house farther back 
still. 

The country here is not divided into townships but counties. Every gentleman 
remote from a city has a particular name for his plantation. Voters have to 
assemble at their courthouses to elect their representatives. The States south of 
New Jersey are not divided into townships. When I was travelling in 
Pennsylvania, I often, as usual, enquired what town I was in? The people would 
tell me they did not know. I thought they were monstrous ignorant creatures but 
soon learnt that I was the most ignorant, for they call nothing a town except a 
city or some very thick settled place. Alexandria is the only town in Fairfax 
County. The inhabitants in these parts do not consider it any privelege but a great 
damage to have a road go through their farms. The planters will choose some 
elevated back spot for their dwelling where they never see any body except they 
go off the plantation or somebody comes on purpose to visit them. You may 
travell perhaps a whole day and not pass by more than one or two mansion 
houses. That, I since learn, is the case between Baltimore and Washington, that 
the principal inhabitants live off the road. 

Last week I visited Mount Vernon, the celebrated seat of General 
Washington. I did not find it so magnificent and extraordinary as I expected. It is 
truly a very pleasant place and commands a butiful prospect of the river and 
there are some very fine improvements about it. The house is in quite an old 
fashioned style but quite large. The garden was the greatest curiosity I found. It 
is very handsomely tended by a Dutchman who told me he had been in it 23 
years. It contains most every vegetable and plant that grow in any climate. 
Lemon and orange trees were hanging full of their fruit, and pine apples, coffee, 
and tea plants were growing. These do not grow here without a hot house to keep 
them warm in the winter. 

I sometimes on Saturdays take my mare and ride out ten or fifteen miles. I am 
very anxious to learn how the people live here and view every thing new. What I 
have learnt since I came from home is worth more than all I learnt the last year 



PART I: 1808-1829 19 

at College. It is really the greatest source of information, useful knowledge and 
pleasure, to travel and study mankind [and? ] manners. I am delighted with it 
and should not consider my time badly spent [illegible] two years in these parts 
and only earnt enough to support me, but I hope I [may find? ] a way to please 
myself with the travel and earn money besides. It is quite warm here for the 
season. The thermometer rises this day to 83 degrees. 

I shall, as you requested, send a hundred dollars next month and you need not 
fear my sending you Vermont money. The people trade in no other money here 
but current. There are three banks in town. I have spoken to one of the cashiers to 
accommode me with United States bills in exchange for silver; he said he would 
do it. I shall probably send it about the twelfth November. 

Sir, I hope you nor any of the family will trouble yourselves much about 
Michaels wife. I believe it is enough for us to commiserate the misfortune which 
has befallen him and the disgrace we all share by her friends rash and unmanly 
conduct. She need not complain of being a hired maid; Michael is also a hired 
man. Her situation must be as good as his, and the loss and disgrace on her and 
her relations part cannot be greater than upon ours and Michaels. 

I do not know as I have any thing more to write now. I wish you all prosperity 
and especially I feel enjoyed in maam's health, enjoyment, and happiness and 
shall bear in everlasting remembrance her kind offices and earnest solicitude for 
my welfare. I have reason to call her the best of mothers and fervently hope her 
days may yet be many and those made pleasant by the good conduct of her 
children. I want you should write to me whenever you feel disposed and more 
than once in two months. 

Dear sir, I must once more bid you adieus, and subscribe myself your dutiful, 
grateful, and loving son, 

Elijah Fletcher 

^The population of Alexandria in 1810 was given as 4,903; in 1820, it was 8,371 (Joseph Martin, 
A New and Comprehensive Gazetteer of Virginia [Charlottesville, 1836], p. 479). "Christ Church, of 

which George W^ashington was a member, was built in 1773; St. Paul's, an offshoot of Christ Church, was es- 
tablished in 1809, with the Reverend Mr. Gibson as rector (William Meade, Old Churches, Ministers and 
Families of Virginia [Philadelphia, n.d.; pref. is dated 1857], II, 257, 271). ^ "The Mason Family," 

a manuscript by Adm. R. E. Ingersoll in the D.A.R. Library in Washington, lists the three youngest children 
of Thomson Mason as William, Sarah Chichester, and John, although no dates are given. ** This was 

probably the Alexandria academy, which was on the east side of Washington Street between Wolfe and 
Wilkes streets, later the site of the Washington Public School. "The old Marsteller house, acquired by the 
public school system in 1882, when the present school building was erected, has by many been confused with 
the old academy building. The Alexandria academy was a one-story brick structure. Its cornerstone was laid 
September 7, 1785, by the Alexandria Lodge of Freemasons. . . . The school was incorporated in 1786 by 
act of the Virginia .Assembly," which specified that 13 trustees were to be chosen by those who had contributed 
five or more dollars for the use of the academy. Washington was one of the first trustees. Robert E. Lee 
attended the academy from about 1820 to 1824 (Gay M. Moore, Seaport in Virginia [Richmond, 1949], 
pp. 25, 26). 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 20 

Alexandria, Virginia 
October 31,1810, Wednesday eve 

I have yet superlative health. The weather is now cool here. We had frost the 
eight instant and such a severe one as to injure the growing cotton much. It has 
been so cool ever since as to make fires comfortable, particularly night and 
morning. The sickly season is past. I apprehend no evil from the climate this 
year. I am very sensible the air is not so pure and salubrious here, as in a colder 
and more mountainous country. The waters of rivers here are not rapid enough 
to cleanse and purify them, consequently have the same effect upon health that 
the lake towns in Vermont do. I believe it as healthy here as in Burlington or 
most any of the towns bordering on Lake Champlain. 

I have had but one letter from Ludlow yet. I think rather strange you have 
not some of you written me ere this. I am very solicitous to hear from the family 
and hope there will be no delay after receiving this. I have neither heard from 
Tim : and Michael lately. If you know any thing of their late movements, please 
to inform me. I now and then receive a number of the Washingtonian. I observed 
Grant Powers advertisement in one of them, for the opening his Academy at 
Royalton. I think that school will be preferable to the one at Randolf . Mr. 
Powers was a classmate of mine at Dartmouth and a fine scholar. If you think of 
sending Stephen to school soon, you better write to Mr. Powers enquiring the 
price of board and other expenses. If you have a good district school next winter 
it will probably be best to send him to that.^ Otherwise mount him upon the old 
gray mare and put Calvin on behind him and send him off to some other school. I 
am myself at present studying French in my leisure hours. I have a French 
Instructor to call at my room every night and hear me recite. I find considerable 
time for study and do not negligently employ it. 

I have in my former letters mentioned many Virginian peculiarities. I shall in 
this mention a few more. As there is much oak and walnut timber in the forest 
here, the inhabitants let their hogs run wild in the woods till they are fat and 
then hunt them as they would other wild game. But each man's forest ground is 
inclosed with fences, as much as his cultivated fields, so that he knows his own. 
The hogs are very small but become very fat in the fall, and it is very fine sport to 
hunt them. They never barrel and salt their pork except what they give to their 
servants. They bacon it all and never think of making a dinner without a good 
boiled ham. 

Another peculiarity among the Virginians is, according to the vulgar New- 
England expression "the women wear the breeches." If we go visiting at any 
particular house we go to Mrs. such a ones but not Mr., and if there is any thing 
done in domestic affairs it is done by Mrs. direction and orders. I find it a matter 
of consequence to make my first address to madam and gain her favor and good 
opinion, which is an effectual security of the good will of her husband. 

There appears to be great familiarity between the youth and aged in these 



PART I: 1808-1829 21 

parts. The young and old attend the same diversions and parties and conduct in 
each others company with a seeming equality. This moad of educating children 
has a salutary operation in destroying bash fulness and making a young person 
appear with great ease in any company. The bold-facedness and confidence of 
southern people peculiarly distinguishes them [from] the modest New 
Englanders. I now and [then] see a yankee tin merchant or pedlar or, as the 
Virginians call them, Jews. This class of people you well know are considered in 
the North as the most bold and impudent of any, but when compaired with the 
southern people are very modest. 

The people here say they always tell a Yankee whenever they see them not 
only because they are bashful and modest but because they differ so widely in 
their fhraseology. I recollect when I was in Washington a gentleman addressed 
me in the streets with the familiarity of an old acquaintance and asked me when I 
was from New England. I was much surprised myself to be thus accosted by an 
utter stranger, but he soon explained himself and told me he was sensible from 
my appearance that I was a brother Yankee. I asked him by what particular mark 
he knew, he said because a New Englander has some traits in his countenance of 
civilisation, modesty, and humanity. I formed some acquaintance with him, he 
invited [me] home to dine with him. He was one of Mr. Granger's^ secretaries 
from Connecticut. 

The people here have not harvested their Indian corn although it looks fully 
ripe. They are not afraid of deep snows to injure it very soon. They sowed their 
wheat a month ago. They raise but very few potatoes, the land is too dry for 
them. We scarcely ever eat any for sauce but have other vegetables in abundance. 
We eat breakfast at present at half after eight and dinner half after four, after 
school. They have meals very regular at these stated times. If the servants do not 
have every thing ready at these times they are tied up and whipt. It takes us half 
an hour to breakfast and an hour to dine and a quarter of an hour to sup. When 
we have company to dine with us, after dinner the cloth is removed and we keep 
our seats, drink wine and converse till the company take their leave. 

I shall not injure my health in drinking water. I have not drank a tumbler full 
since here. We always have a boll of toddy made for dinner and a plenty of 
bottled cider which is almost equal to wine for goodness. I think myself in a safe 
harbor. I look back upon past troubles and difficulties with a great deal of 
pleasure. I laugh with myself many time to think what a push I made when 
leaving Vermont and how I economised in my indigent circumstances on my 
journey. I do not regret now that my situation was as it was. I should not have 
known the value of prosperity if I had not been in adversity. I now view future 
prospects with a smile. I have launched my leaky barge upon the variously 
undulating ocean of the world. I mean to make christian honesty, but not 
christian hypocracy, my helm, perseverance and ambition my gale. Whether my 
voyage will prove prosperous or otherwise, at what haven I shall at last land, 
God only knows. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 22 

Sunday, November 4, 1 8 10 

After writing the above, I thought I would let it rest a few days in hopes of 
receiving a letter from you. My hopes have been pleasingly gratified, I last night 
received Lucys letter. You may well know I was not a little pleased to hear from 
the family. I received one from Nathan P Fletcher at the same time.^ I shall this 
evening seal my letter. I inclose the half of the hundred dollars as you requested 
and will do with the other half as you directed. This is the fruit of two months 
laber. I sent a ten dollar bill soon after my arrival to Burlington to pay for my 
degree, I have likewise sent five to Timothy. I have been here now about three 
months. I have not yet received all my last months wages. You need not fear but 
that I shall economise and use as much prudence as my circumstances will allow 
of. Although I do not receive all my wages quarterly, I will let you have another 
hundred dollars next February if you want. I wish you to write me as soon as you 
receive this letter for you know from experience what anxiety I shall have till I 
hear of your safe reception of this letter. I want you to inclose the smaller note I 
gave you In your letter and endorse the remainder on the larger note. I take a 
great pleasure in sending you this money, not only because it is justly due but 
because I hope it will ease you of some trouble and render you more happy. I 
hope you will let maam have enough of it to buy her a bottle of snuff or a new 
gown so that she [will know? ] that I have not forgot her nor her past 
kindnesses. 

This day I have attended our Episcopalian Church with the family. A Mr. 
Barton is our Minister.^ I am very constant at Church. I have not missed one 
sabbath yet. Our congregation is generally large. The General does not attend 
very constant but his wife and children most allways attend. 

Last thursday was a very gloomy and dark day here. It was so dark when we 
dined that we had candles lit upon the table. This day is quite cold but I have a 
very good fire in my room and feel very comfortably. I must close this letter for I 
have soon to teach my three children their catechise. 

I wish you, maam, and the whole family all prosperity, health, and peace 
imaginable. 

Your dutiful son, 
Elijah Fletcher 

Sunday after Meeting 
Lucy, I thank you for your letter. Dont fail to put in a half a sheet into the letter 
that daddy writes me. Tell me in it what success you had at your quilting and 
where it was &c, &c, &c, &c. 

Elijah Fletcher 
Lucy Fletcher. Remember me to sister Fanny, Larana and Loisa. 



PART I: 1808-1829 23 

Stephen, I am much obliged to you for your interesting note inclosed within 
Lucy's letter. I think )ou will make a fine letter writer if you will only practice. I 
shall write to you next. Omit no opportunity in learning. 
Stephen K. Fletcher. Elijah Fletcher 

^ A letter from Stephen to his father, written Jan. 26, 181 1, shows he was then attending the academy at 
Royalton. -Gideon Granger (1767— 1822), of Sufficld, Conn., was Postmaster General from iSoi to 

1814. ^Nathan Fletcher (1783-1835) was Elijah's first cousin, the son of Jesse's older brother, Joslah 
(Harris, op. dr., p. 127). * This must have been [Francis] Barclay, who was rector of Christ Church for 
a brief period in 1810— 11 (Meade, op. cit., II, 261). 



To Jesse Fletcher, jun. 

Alexandria, Virginia 
December 7, 18 10 
Jesse, 

I have received no letter from you yet, but that is no obstacle to my writing 
you. I shall remember you if you do not me. I shall write to you whenever 
convenient. I suspect your attention is so much taken up with farming business, 
that you have no time to think of nothing else. If that is the case you are doing 
well, for every man ought to pay strict attention to whatever business or 
occupation he undertakes. 

I yet live in peace and comfort here. The weather is not so hot as to scortch my 
hair when out in the sun, nor so cold as to freeze my nose in my morning walk to 
the Academy. I have been to one deer hunt since I wrote you last. We were 
rather unlucky. We saw two but killed none. However we had some sport in 
killing and firing at owls and quails. 

The business of an over-seer or task master for the negroes is not very 
honorable, nor so profitable as one might expect. One of General Mason's 
overseers tells me he does not make more than one hundred and fifty dollars a 
year. He has the care of his home farm. An over-seer has to plan all the business 
and be with the negroes all the time. The negroes have great spite and hatred 
towards them and frequently fight them, when the over-seer pretends to whip 
them. The negroes think as meanly of the poor white people, as the rich white 
people do themselves and think any body that is so poor as to be an overseer mean 
enough. The negroes are many of them ugly, will steal whatever they can get 
hold of, and those that are cunning enough, will run away. I scarcely ever see a 
newspaper but what has a half a dozen advertisements for runaway negroes. The 
General had one runaway last week. He was a carpenter and worth five or six 
hundred dollars. 

The negroes pretend to have wives and husbands, but they have no ceremony 
in manage. A man and woman will make some agreement between themselves 
and they will lay side beside till they disagree, and then will part. They have but 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 24 

little more ceremony about such things than the cattle do. They lay all together 
on the floor like hogs, have no beds. The negro women have a great many 
children. They begin to have them when they are thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen 
years old. The houses which the negroes live in are called Qarters. Two or three 
log huts are erected somewhere upon the plantation, and there they live all in a 
mess, boys, girls, men, and women — and you may well suppose, where there is 
such promiscuous intercourse between the sexes and no regard to decency or 
chastity, that they will have as many children as a bitch will puppies. The 
working slaves generally have one suit of coarse cloathes a year, and when they 
wear them out, they go without. The children have no cloathes and most always 
go perfectly naked. 

Jes, I want you should live in peace there at home. It appears destined that you 
should not leave Ludlow. You well know whom you have got to live with and I 
want you should condescend and humor your mothers disposition. Try to make 
yourself as much beloved by her as you are by your good Father, and you will be 
among your best friends. I should not, between you and me, sincerely advise you 
to be hasty in getting married. Your situation is as free, and agreeable now, as you 
will ever find it. However I shall not dictate in these matters, you know better 
about them then I do and will doubtless act wisely without my advise. I shall be 
ready to pay you that fifty dollar note by the time it is due in good current money 
and as much of it as you can pay this winter in salts, ashes, and the like, so much 
the more you will have to keep for yourself of the fifty dollars. You may tell that 
little narrow souled Hall that there is no danger of his losing the money due him 
on my account, for I am neither dead nor run away. I never was more 
surpris[ed] and provoked than at his conduct. After promising to trust me 

without any other security, the little mean D 1 wanted other security. I had 

not a face to scold much about it then for every one was almost as fearful to trust 
me as he was. I hope in God I never shall again be dependent upon them. I 
rejoice that I have left them and I should have done it if I had had to walk out of 
town on foot with no more than a fippenny bit in my pocket. I have everlasting 
thanks to give you for helping me all that lay in your power, as well that time as 
ever since I have been studying. 

When I was at Weathersfield, I wrote a letter to Tom Prentis concerning what 
he told Mr. Atherton. If you see Parson Kendel you may ask him what Tom said 
to the letter and let me know the result. I dont care any thing particular about it, 
however, and you need not put yourself to much trouble to find out, for Tom 
Prentis is not worth minding no more than the greater part of the frost-bitten 
Vermonters are. 

Persevere in well doing, so fare you well. 

Elijah Fletcher 



PART I: 1808-1829 25 

Alexandria, Virginia, part of the District of Columbia 

January, Friday 1 1 , 1 8 1 1 
My best Friend and Father: 

I received your's of Novem : 23d. in due time ; and among my numerous 
friendly correspondents I have none I prise as I do my father. I take pleasure in 
reading your letters more than once, in carrying them a long time in my pocket 
and now-and-then when a leisure hour occurs, take them out and con them 
over. 

I have nothing new to tell you about my health, comfort, and prosperity. They 
are as they have been, and as I hope will be. I am not quite so much of a sceptic 
in calculating on futurity as you appear to be. I confess I know not what will 
happen, but I hope for the best, and make my calculations as though every thing 
would eventuate prosperously. I am one of those "wicked ones," who put great 
dependance upon works; and verily believe my future success will depend rather 
upon my own exertion, perseverance, prudence, and economy than on the Fates, 
Fortunes, Destinies, that can be mentioned. Although I have but "the one talent" 
given me, I dont think it best to go and bury it, and trust to God for its 
cultivation and increase. I am confident if I, in due season, purchase a good share 
of oil, and keep my lamp well trimmed and burning, I shall be ready for the 
bridegroom. I would not deny the supremecy of an overruling power, or that 
unforseen accidents some times occur, but generally speaking every effect has its 
cause. We can most always impute all our misfortunes, miscarriages, and bad luck 
to our own misconduct, negligence, or bad habits. If we want to be or do any 
thing in this world we must be determined, indefatigable and persevering. There 
is scarce any object but we can obtain by proper exertion, and prudent means. I 
have an ambition to make myself respectable. I am sensible I possess no 
extraordinary gift or talent, and to gratify my ambition nothing will do but 
industry, laber, and the practice of virtue. 

I acknowledge that your apprehensions of my acquiring intemperate habits are 
not without foundation, considering where I live; but. Sir, do not fear. The 
gormandires and wine-bibber are characters I despise. I take no pleasure in 
excessive eating and drinking and believe with Dr. Goldsmith that "nothing 
assimilates man more to the brute than a supreme care and concern about what we 
shall eat and what we shall drink." No, never fear while my name is Elijah, I 
shall be no epicure nor drunkard. 

You wish to have me relieve and assist the slave in distress. I assure you it is 
a task I would do with pleasure, if I could with profit. But to vindicate the rights 
of that degraded class of human creatures here would render me quite 
unpopular. There are none the Virginians despise so much as Quakers and those 
who disapprove of slavery. All I can do, (and that I do do) is to recommend to 
them obedience and resignation, telling them we are all slaves some way or other 
and that they are as well off as though free, but I can hardly make them believe 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 26 

this lesson. I use those around me kindly and do not value a little chance once in 
a while to save their black backs from the lash. If the domestic servants break or 
damage any dishes or the like, which they handle, they must either repair the 
same, or take a cruel whipping. On such occasions they have freequently come to 
me and begged a ninepence or the like. I do not "send them away emty." Gen. 
M. tells me to inform him when the servants do not wait on me as they ought but 
I enter as yet no complaints, although I freequently threatten the little boy that 
waits on me to scare him to his duty. I find that encouragement does them more 
good than scolding. They are so used to hear scolding, that they mind but little 
about it, for they hear nothing else from their masters whether they do right or 
wrong; and they think it quite a condescension to be spoken mildly to. The 
people are always complaining how ugly, unfaithful, and stealing their slaves 
are. It is all very true, but who can blame the poor degraded objects? A person 
that is kept in such a state that he can have no ambition, nothing but the whip to 
encourage him, no sense of shame or honor, we can expect no more from. His 
reward is the same whether he does well or ill. For a while the loss of the blacks 
might be felt in these States ; but I verily believe it would be the inhabitants 
greatest blessing to get rid of them. I am sensible they are really unprofitable. 
Four white servants, that had their daily wages, would be worth and do more 
than twenty common blacks, who are so lazy as to do nothing without being 
drove to it. And another great and soar evil is they preclude the poor whites from 
any employment. A rich man, that has slaves enough, does not want to hire; if he 
does he will give but very small wages and consider his hired man no better than 
his black servant, and while this is the case, the poor whites, unwilling to consider 
themselves upon a level with the negroes, live in idleness and poverty and 
practice their attendant vices. They have no chance to rise and become eminent. 
They can neither read nor write, nor vote for or be appointed to any office, for 
every officer even to a corporal is appointed by the general assembly or county 
courts. Happy, thrice happy are the poor people of New Engld when compared 
to that class here. 

The Legislature of this State are now in session. Mr. Giles' Senatorial seat is 
vacated after this session,^ and the Legislature are about reelecting or electing 
another. Mr. Eppes is his opponant." You will observe in the congressional 
proceedings a little before this time, that these gentlemen get leave of absence for 
awhile. Their business is to go to Richmond and electioneer, for you must know 
that the people in these parts get into office by "Stump oratory" or praising and 
electioneering for themselves. Mr. John Randolf is so much out of health that he 
has not gone on to Congress yet.^ His occupation is nothing more than that of a 
humble farmer. 

Mr. Spooner's'* son has called upon me and stayed three days with me. He 
heard from his friends in Burlington of my residence. He has been living in 
Maryland as an instructor in a gentleman's family till lately. He has now gone to 



PART I: 1808-1829 27 

the south part of this state and has entered upon the same business. He says he 
receives no assistance from his father and means to have the honor of taking care 
of himself. 

I receive the Washingtonean more correctly than I did at first. There is hardly 
any numbers missed now. I think with you it is about as good a paper as is printed 
in the U.S.A. After I read it, I send it on to my friend Spooner and he tells me 
after he has read it he forwards it to another friend of ours in N.C., Joel String of 
Rutland, classmate of Mr Spooner. The little notes you write upon the margin 
are very good, equal to a small letter. You might write more upon the inside of 
the covering which you put over them, if the paper is thick, without discovery. I 
found upon the inside of one the whole proceedings of your school meeting. But 
whatever you write, write as though it was accidental and not sign any name to it. 

As for my diploma, you may keep it for the present. There is seven dollars 
now due for it. It cost with my tuition while at Bur. seventeen £. for the writing 
of it, £.25 for the President's signing, and the rest for tuition. I sent a ten dollar 
U.S. bill soon after I got here, but Mr. Williams^ writes me that there is seven 
still due, which if you will sendtohimfor him toseepaidat B[urlington] by 
next August, I will pay you the same in current money. Vermont money will do 
for him. Williams is now studying law at Montpelier. It is not probable I shall 
get the next hundred dollars ready for you till the latter part of next month. 
U.S. bills may not be very good by that time; if not, or if you would prefer them, 
I imagine I can get New York bills. I lately spoke to a cashier of one of the banks 
in town. He told me with little trouble he could assist me to N. York bills. You 
will please to note it on a news paper, if you dont write, which you choose. 

Sir, I dont feel at present as though it would be any privilege or pleasure to 
have the liberty to write to Mr. Hall. I am not in want for correspondents. I am 
burthened with them. There are more than two hundred who [seek?] a 
correspondence with me and a great many whom I ought in [token?] of 
friendship to write to; but I cannot. I must forget them. It is impossible for me to 
still maintain my acquaintance and friendship with all my school fellows and 
companions. It would be pleasant to do it; and in fact [I] shed more than one 
sorrowful tear to think I must forget and never more see my old classmates, 
many of whom as near to me as brothers, but we cannot live upon friendship, and 
for me it is too costly. I settled with the P. Master last week and paid him no less 
than six dollars, and I have not received enough from home to come to one of 
them.'' I shall not be burthened quite so much here [illegible] I have selected a 
few choice friends only for regular correspondents. But as for Hall, I did not 
consider his conduct very friendly on my leaving Ludlow. 

"You tell maam you dont think she will ever see me again." If it so happens in 
the revolution of events that you never do, I think it is not best to despair yet. We 
had better enjoy the pleasure of anticipation if we are never gratified with the 
participation. I earnestly hope I shall return home and see you all again in life, 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 28 

health and prosperity, but my return is enveloped in the darkness of futurity. It 
does no good to trouble ourselves about it. All we can do is to wish and pray for 
the best, and leave the residue with God. I am very much rejoiced that my ma'm 
has so much reconciliation and consistency about my absence. I think she has 
exercised true christian fortitude ever since I talked of coming this way, even 
more than I could have expected from so fond and indulgent a mother. 

I am glad you have sent Stephen off to school and hope you will be able to help 
him to a little education without "selling your farm" as it was predicted by your 
friendly neighbors that you would have to do for the assistance you gave me. Let 
the envious grind and gnash their teeth as much as they please and the only way 
of revenging ourselves upon them is by doing well. I dont know what you will do 
with your other little children this winter if you have no school in your district. 
You probably however have a chance to send them to Cavendish or some other 
district school in town. Please to inform me whether you have had to repay that 
ten dollars of current money to uncle Josiah F. 

1 5 January Tuesday 

I have nothing more to say now. I wish you and maam all the felicity which is 
found in this evil world. Let me say once more farewell! and subscribe myself 
your dutiful son forever. 

Elijah Fletcher 

The weather is as warm and pleasant as summer j fires are uncomfortable.^ 
The flies are as lively and brisk as in May. I can hardly persuade myself that it 
is January for it is very different from any I ever experienced in Vermont. The 
thermometer is nearly to 70°. Last evening it thundered and lightened and 
showered and cleared up warm after it, as it would in the warm season, but this 
weather is not common here. We have had some moderately cold weather and a 
few small snows which would remain on the ground a day or two but the 
meridian sun soon dissipated them and leave the unfrozen ground wet, muddy 
and bad stiring about. 

'William Branch Giles (1762-1830) served in the U.S. Senate, 1804-1;. ^ John W. Eppes (1773- 

1823) was in Congress, 1803-11, 1813-151 and in the Senate, 1817-19. ^ John Randolph (1773-1833) 

served in Congress, 1799-18 13, 1815-17, 1819-25. He resigned when he was appointed to the Senate, 
where he served until 1827, and then returned to the House from 1827 to 1829. * This was apparently 
Alden Spooner of Windsor, Vt., who published Spooner's Vermont Journal from 1792 to 1818 (Brigham, 
op, cit.y II, 1099). Young Spooner, a friend of Elijah's, is mentioned in several letters. In 1814 he married 
a sister of Elijah's wife. ^Norman Williams and Fletcher were classmates at the University of Vermont. 

See Appendix II for receipt dated May 30, 1810, for payment of initiation fee to a literary society. ^ At 

this time, postage on letters was paid by the recipient. Most of Elijah's letters cost his father 25 cents, 
although an occasional thick letter is marked 50 cents. ^ This additional paragraph appears on the margin 

of the letter. 



PART I: 1808-1829 29 

Alexandria, Virginia 
February 22, 1 8 1 1 
Dear Sir, 

I received your last in due season, and with pleasure sit down to answer it. You 
will first want to know the state of my health. It is good, but I feel rather 
dumpish and and hypocondriac in my mind. Whether I inherit that disease called 
hypo or whether it is brought on by the many troubles to get along thus far in 
life I dont know, but I have it every now and then in spite of my exertions. It 
appears that I have neglected to write a good many things which you want to 
learn. I will in this try to inform you of them. I will first, however, inform you 
that I send you another hundred dollars. I thought not best to divide the bill and 
send half to S[tephen] as you advised. The rascal who would take the first part 
would easily suspect and open another letter immediately following directed to 
the same place and almost the same name. 

As for my expences, I yet use every method to economise and retrench them 
possible, but they will necessarily amount to something in the course of a year. 
You well know I had but one good suit of cloathes when I left home, my hat was 
rather rusty, my boots rather old and unhandsome. I have spent but very little 
yet for cloathing but must soon. I had no watch, which I want much in my 
business. I had no books and a great many other little trifles which amount to 
considerable when all summed up. Besides my books I shall have to give thirty 
dollars for my French instructors calling at my room and spending an hour or 
two every night for a year. I keep my little mare yet. I shall sell her the first 
opportunity. I dont expect to get more than forty dollars for her and saddle and 
bridle. It has cost me as yet nothing to keep her, at least nothing more than what 
I have paid for by what I have done out of school. Candles, washing and 
mending I have likewise for the private instruction I give where I board. 

Considering all these things, I have made a general calculation of my expenses 
for the year that they will amount to a hundred dollars, with the price of my 
mare. I dont expect they will be less than this and I fear they will be more. My 
watch, which cost me twenty five dollars, my books, my french instruction, and 
my cloathes will be my chief expenses. I shall not spend much in company and 
dissipation. I feel myself as poor and dependent as ever, and shall while I know 
your wants are so urgent. I shall strive every way to save a penny, yet I think best 
to go decent and not loose my time or forego any instruction because it will cost a 
few dollars. I frequently ask myself when I shall be independent and not dogged 
about and troubled for the want of money. It has ever since I went from home 
been my vexation. If all the thoughts and study which the want of money has 
occasioned me had been employed upon philosophy, I believe I should be as great 
a philosopher as is known. I thought when I left home last summer if I could only 
live till I had satifyed you for your trouble and expenses on my account I should 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 30 

die content, and I will assure you that is the first object of my wishes now. I shall 
do it as fast as possible. 

When I first engaged here I was not to have my wages till the end of the year 
except enough for expenses, but by particular favor I have got you so much 
already. I suppose when you spoke about having two hundred dollars more by 
Mr Hubbard' you did not expect his return till next April or May but Congress 
will break up next week and it will be impossible for me to send any more so soon. 
I did not expect to send you any more till the end of the year except enough to 
pay your notes when due, and it is uncertain now whether or not I can without I 
leave this place as I some expect to next May. If I do so, I shall consequently 
have all my wages then and be able to send you a couple hundred dollars more on 
the first of next May. I have an invitation to become principal of an Academy 
about two hundred miles from this. I have not yet determined upon it and will 
inform you more about it in my next letter. 

My school is in flourishing circumstances. I succeed to my most sanguine 
wishes. I have but about twenty scholars, I make three different classes and make 
every thing go on in harmonious order. As you were informed, I learn faster 
myself than any one of my scholars. I make it a point to always read all their 
lessons the night before I hear them recite. It is no task but a pleasure. I can read 
a Latin auther or Greek or French almost as easy as an English one. The French 
is a very easy language to a person who has learnt the Latin. The words are 
two-thirds of them either like the Latin or English. The pronunciation is the 
only part in which I want instruction. If a person is acquainted with the French, 
Latin, and English, the Italian and Spanish language will come of course. I mean 
to get a smattering of them as soon as I can procure books. I will assure you I 
have no idle hours. I have employment for every moment. Time rolls away 
seemingly without duration. We had a vacation during the month of December 
which is the only one in the year, but it was no vacation to me. I kept my room, or 
at least spent no more time in company or at places of expense than when I daily 
teach my school. 

I went to Washington week before last and spent two days there. I should 
have spent more time there, the place being so handy, if it was not for the 
expenses which are enormous in the City. I had not an opportunity of calling on 
Mr Hubbard. I however called on Mr. Chittenden." Little Zerah Colburn has 
been in Washington a number of weeks, to be seen at a dollar per person.^ He is 
much noticed in all our public print, and by all our great men at Washington. Mr 
John Randolph has offered to give him the best education our country affords. A 
number [of] other Gentlemen have made the same offer. His father refused 
and pretended that he meant to carry him to Urope as soon as he could get 
money to bear his expenses. But people have remonstrated with him so much on 
the absurdity of his conduct that I saw stated in the last National Inteligencer* 



PART 1: 1808-1829 31 

that he was now ready to give him up. What will be the end of his fathers folly 
and the effect of it upon this wonderful genus, time will best determine. 

I must close my letter or loose a chance of sending it by this mail. Since I began 
this, I [have] been to the bank and found myself disappointed in getting bills 
which would answer your turn. The non-renewal of the U.S. bank charter makes 
terrible work with the banks in these parts. I thought not best to delay sending 
what I have got. I shall get the remaining forty dollars in a few days. You may 
rely upon having it within twenty days if not before. I will not delay a day after I 
can get bills that will answer your turn. The stage starts much earlier today than 
common and I am sorry to close my letter in this imperfect state but I must, so 
farewell, farewell. 

Your dutiful son, 
Elijah Fletcher 

■^ Jonatiian Hatch Hubbard (1768—1849), who began the practice of law In Windsor, Vt., in 1790, was 
elected to the nth Congress, 1809-11. ^Martin Chittenden (1763-1840) was elected to the 8th and the 

four succeeding Congresses, 1803-13, as a representative from Vermont. He was Governor of Vermont, 
1813—15. ^ Zerah Colburn, born in 1804 in Cabot, Vt., was a mathematical prodigy. From the age of six, 
he was exhibited by his father throughout New England and as far south as Richmond, Va. In Apr. 1812 he 
was taken to England and was wildly acclaimed in London. Paris, however, was indifferent to him {D.A.B.j 
IV, 283—84). "* This paper, published several times a week, began as the Naiional Intelligencer and 

Washington Advertiser in iSooj its title was shortened in Nov. 1810 (Brigham, op. cit.j I, 103—4). 



Alexandria, Virginia 
March [ 1 8 ii ] 
Dear Sir, 

I was very much chagrined to close my last in so imperfect a state, but not more 
so than to be unable to send you the full hundred dollars.' The Cashier had 
sometime before promised to accommodate me most any time, when I would call. 
I thought there could be no danger and commenced my letter with full assurance 
of having my gold changed for N.Y. bills before I closed it, but to my 
mortification, when I went to the bank, the cashier told me he had without 
remembering his promise to me, parted with all his N.Y. bills the day before. I 
knew you would be expecting my letter at that time and would be much troubled 
for fear of its being lost if you did not hear from [me] . I therefore got what U.S. 
bills I could and forwarded them as I did. I don't certainly know whether U.S. 
bills are current with you or not. The Charter is not renewed but the bank will 
probably continue its operation; and the bills will demand the specie at any of its 
branches. I believe it is not like your State but the bills of one branch are 
redeemable at another. So if the bills I sent you are not current, send them to 
Boston or to Tim and you can obtain money which will answer your turn. I trust 
what money I send you will go to pay your great debts; and not be dribbled out 
in small merchant debts, &c. I therefore meant not to send it in small sums. I 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 32 

have prospects of paying you two hundred dollars more next May; you may 
depend upon it, if no unforeseen accident happens. The greatest difficulty, I fear, 
will be getting proper bills to send you. If I can't get bills I shall get a draft upon 
Boston bank and forward it to some of my cousin Patten V or upon N.Y. and 
forward it to Tim. I hope by some such means to enable you to meet all your 
demands; for if it puzzles and perplexes you as much to be harassed for the want 
of money as it does me, I know you must be unhappy. I wonder many times how 
you have lived in such a situation so long. I should suppose your first object 
would be to clear yourself of debt, to no longer have to sell your stock &c at half 
price, because you owe, to be independant. I know that your family is, as it has 
been, very expensive, but I believe the family much more economical and 
prudent than formerly and trust by our united exertion we shall finally triumph. 
Our interest is common and we must always unite and assist the ones that are most 
needy. 

I mentioned to you in my last communication of being requested to take charge 
of an Acad, in a different part of the state. I have complyed with the invitation; 
and expect to leave this place for New Glasgow,^ Amherst County, Va., the 
first of next May. Mr. Garland called on me for my answer on his return home 
from congress.^ I was at a loss for some time what to do. My situation here was 
agreeable, my task not laborious, my salary decent, and a great desire in my 
employers to have me stay. If I went there, I should have more care upon my 
mind and be probably more confined, but I had an ambition to be first. I should 
have a larger salary (which is my first object), remove into a high and healthy 
part of the State, so a number of other considerations determined me to accept. 
The situation of the place is high and healthy, near the mountains, which are 
called the blue Ridge, and the Acad.^ is represented as in a flourishing State. It is 
something uncertain what the salary will be; for it depends partly upon tuition. 
The edifice is a large brick building, a handsome dwelling house for myself, and a 
lot with a few acres of land, a philosopical apparatus, and a handsome classical 
Library. I can tell you more about particulars better when I get there. Mr. 
Garland represented the circumstances very flattering — more so than, I fear, I 
shall find them. I shall start from this place in the stage, and travel so 1 80 miles 
till I come to Charlottsville, where Mr. G. will send horse and servant to 
transport me the remaining forty miles, as the stage rode from there is not direct. 
He gave me a letter of introduction to his uncle at Charlottsville with whom I 
shall stay and probably get an interview with the Philosopher of Monticello 
[Jefferson] , whose seat is 3 miles from Char: I anticipate a pleasant ride. 

I sold my little mare a few days after I wrote you last. I got only thirty five 
dollars for [her] . I suppose I might have got some dollars more, if I could have 
gone out into county and trucked her off to some of planters for a plow-horse. She 
was a tough little serviceable thing upon a farm; but not a pleasant saddle horse. 
The saddle and bridle have neted me five dollars only. The whip and 



PART I: 1808-1829 33 

portmanteau I have not sold. I suppose you will think I had better kept my mare, 
till I had finished my journey. I sold her a few days before I knew certain of my 
going and my expences are to be borne by the trustees, so no reasons of economy 
could persuade me to travel on horseback, the' it would be cheaper. 

I this day received the ]Vas/i [ingtonian] on which I read your note of the 
seventh of March, that you had received the sixty dollars, and that Jesse had 
gone for Stephen &c. This was pleasant, and the correct reception of my letters 
will encourage me to send money to you with less fear than at first. 

The weather is pleasant, people begin to plow, make and sow their gardens the 
first of this month. Now commences the fishing season. The principle fish are 
herring which are caught in great quantities. I am much pleased to see the 
approach of summer, for, to tell the truth, we have had an unpleasant winter. I 
do not dread the coming summer heat at all. I shall spend the summer in a 
warmer climate than this but the highland air will be more pure and salubrious 
than upon the banks of this fever-ague river. The change will be like removing 
from one of your lake towns to a town upon the side of the Green Mountains. I 
expect to have one Yankee for a companion at my new residence. Gen. VarnumV 
son from Mas[sachusetts] . He has been a resident of that County several years, 
in the mercantile line I believe. 

I want you should pay the editors of the Vt. Republican' about a dollar for 
their newspaper from some time last fall and charge the same to me. A 
gentleman here of my acquaintance told he would pay for a Vt. paper if I would 
send for it. I did so, and they have been forwarded in my name but he does not 
like the paper much and I do not want it as I am going away. I can get no proper 
money here to send in a letter or I would not trouble you. You will direct your 
papers after 20th of April to New Glasgow, Amherst County, Va. It will take 
them from that time till ist of May to get there. It will be uncertain whether I 
write you again till I arrive at my new place of destination. Till that time, and I 
trust till death, I shall remain your affectionate and fondly attached 

Elijah 

C.S.B. I send you one U.S. bill and the other three of N. York bills. Please to 
endorse it on the note. Be so good as to write immediately on receiving this. 

Elijah Fletcher 

A few words for Stephen 

I received your letter and liked it so well I felt no inclination to burn it. I am 
sensible you had dry work to commence Latin without any knowledge of the 
English and it may be dry sometime but it will not always be so if you apply 
yourself and make improvement. You must while at home be looking over your 
grammar, make it perfectly familiar, read it over and over, which you will find 
an everlasting benefit and will determine your excellence in Latin. You must try 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 34 

to pars English by knowing how to pars Latin. There is the same connection 
between the noun and adjective and in fact all parts of speech in one language as 
the other and if you know how to pars one, you will know how to pars the other. 
Study your English Gram, likewise and don't loose your vacation. Your 
Brother, 

Elijah 

^ This letter is marked "Missent & fwd from Windsor April i. Over charged 25 cents. Elijah ist April 1811 
Alexandria received 13th April." "The Pattens, who lived in Boston, were maternal kin to the Fletchers. 

Mrs. Isaac Patten (Lydia Keyes) was the twin sister of Lucy Keyes Fletcher (Edwin R. Hodgman, History 
of the Toivn of Westford, in the County of Middlesex, Mass,, 165Q—1883 [Lowell, Mass., 1883], p. 
457). ^ New Glasgow, Va., was a post-village, 20 miles N.N.E. of Lynchburg, Va., of ". . . about 200 
inhabitants. In this place there Is an academy, consisting of two departments, male and female" {Darify*s 
Universal Gazetteer [Philadelphia, 1827], p. 536). In 1836 Martin's Gazetteer of Virginia listed "one 
academy" (p. 129). Its name was changed to Clifford in 1883. "* David Shepherd Garland (1769-1841) 

was a lawyer, large landowner, and leading citizen of Amherst County, Va., of which he was a representative 
for many years in the Virginia House of Delegates. He was elected to the llth Congress and served from 
Jan. 1810 to Mar. 1811. In 1795 he married Jane Henry Meredith, of New Glasgow, a niece of Patrick 
Henry. Garland's wealth and influence earned him the sobriquet, "King David." His Imposing brick residence 
in Clifford (formerly New Glasgow) is still occupied. ^ New Glasgow Academy was established by an act 

of the General Assembly, Jan. 7, 1803 (Samuel Shepherd, ed.. Statutes at Large of Virginia [Richmond, 
1835], n.s. II, 461). ^Joseph Bradley Varnum (1750—1821) of Dracut, Mass., was a major-general in 

the Massachusetts militia. Elected to Congress in 1795, he was Speaker of the House of Representatives, 
1807— II, and he was then elected to the Senate for a six-year term (Appleton, Cyclopedia of American 
Biography [New York, 1889], VI, 261—62). ^A weekly newspaper published in Windsor from 1809 to 

1820 (Brigham, op. cit., II, iioi). 



New Glasgow, Amherst Co., Virginia 
May 24, 181 1 
Dear Sir, 

Thursday, May 2nd., I bade my scholars farewell at Ale [xandria] and on 
Friday morning 3d. entered the stage coach in company with 3 Virginia 
gentlemen, who had been to N.Y. to purchase their summers' stock of goods. 
The day was rainy, the roads were muddy, and the prospect of viewing the 
country as we passt along not delightful, for we past through nothing but barren, 
poor, uncultivated land, saw no houses upon the road but now and then a negroe's 
hut or a poor man's cabin. We travelled this day in an eastern direction 50 miles 
to Fredericksburg, a handsome commercial town of about 3000 inhabitants 
situated at the head of navigation in Appotomox river.^ Here we terried over 
night. In the morning I got a small rent in my pantaloons mended and the 
Taylor who, I learnt, was also a Babptist minister, charged a half a dollar for it. 
Saturday 4th : At 8 o'clock we started in a western direction, passed through 
Orange County, within about 4 miles of Montpelier, President Madison's seat j 
saw the manner of teamsters travelling by carrying their own and their horses 
provision and at night kindling up a fire beside the road and making the open air 
the house of entertainment ; saw also the manner of rolling tobacco by putting a 
pole for an axletree through the middle of the hogshead, fixing [shafts.? ] to each 
end, putting in horses and so rolling it upon its hoops two or 3 hundred miles to 



PART I: lSOS-1829 35 

market. At sunset we broke our carriage, took supper and tarried till lO o'clock 
before we got our carriage mended, then on all night without making any stop 
but to change horses once. Got no sleep. The latter part of the night was rainy, 
roads bad. We ran onto a stump and broke the swingle tree or what you call 
Whipple tree. 

About 7 o'clock in the morning we hove in sight of the famous Monticello. We 
had a good view of it from the road while travelling 5 or 6 miles as the roads 
wound around it to get to Charlottville. Carters' mountain was in equally as 
conspicuous a place. To present to yourself the first ledge back of your house for 
the height and bigness of Monticello and the little hollow and the next higher 
ledge for Carters Mountain, and you will have [some? ] idea of the local 
situation, height, and bigness of the two places. 

We arrived a little before [torn] at Char., a village of about 400 houses, 
courthouse, and good taverns. Mr. Kelly, the only remaining fellow traveller, 
left me here, as he resided in town. Gave me a polite invitation to call [and? ] 
spend some time with him, but I took breakfast and went on six miles farther, 
where I left the stage and my baggage at a tavern, and walked about a mile from 
the road to Esquire Garland, to whom I had a letter of introduction and where I 
expected to meet my horses. I gave him my letter, found him a plain, jovial, 
unceremonious planter, his wife friendly and agreeable, and his children, some 
large, some small, 10 or 1 1 — dressed In farmer style — and appeared more like 
robust, hearty, Green Mountain boys than any I had yet seen in Va. In fact the 
country round about here is much more hilly, rough, uneven and fertile than the 
lower counties and the inhabitants much more farmer-like. There Is scarce any 
place In Vt more uneven. This was Sunday the 5th. I had come from Alex. 1 50 
miles In little better than 2 days and a night, some sooner than I expected when I 
started, and 2 days sooner than I had wrote on to Mr. Garland at N Glasgow to 
meet me there with his horses. 

Monday 6th, I rode back to Charlottsville with Esquire G. on the purpose of 
visiting Monticello which is 3 miles from thence, but the hard and constant rain 
frustrated our intention. We got no farther than C. I attended the Circuit Court 
an hour or 2, which was then sitting, but saw nothing strange to please or divert 
except the mood of swearing or taking an oath, which was to put their hands upon 
an old bible while the Clerk repeated the usual oath, and then to kiss the bible. 
Teusday 7th, I waited with some anxiety for the arrival of the horses, but they 
came not. I rode about the plantation with Esquire G. His negroes were setting 
out tobacco plants, weeding corn and planting cotton. This day we had green peas 
for dinner. 

Wednesday 8th I started again for Monticello. Mr. Kelly, when I got to 
Char., went with me. When we arrived at the foot of the hill, we wound a side 
way, circuitous course to avoid the steepness In getting the house, which was 
Immediately upon the top of the mountain. We rode up to the front gate of the 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 36 

door yard, a servant took our horses, Mr. Jefferson appeared at the door. I was 
introduced to him and shook hands with him very cordially. We went into the 
drawing room. Wines and liquers were soon handed us by the servant. He 
conversed with me very familiarly, he gratified my curiosity in showing me his 
Library, Museum of curiosities, Philosophical apparatus, &c. Mr. Jefferson is 
tall, spare, straight in body, his face not handsome but savage. I learnt he was but 
little esteemed by his neighbors. Repuplicans as well as Federalists in his own 
County dislike him and tell many anecdotes much to his disgrace. I confess I 
never had a very exalted opinion of his moral conduct, but from the information 
I gained of his neighbors who must best know him, I have a much poorer one. 
The story of black Sal is no farce. That he cohabits with her and has a number of 
children by her is a sacred truth, and the worst of it is, he keeps the same children 
slaves, an unnatural crime which is very common in these parts.^ This conduct 
may receive a little palliation when we consider that such proceedings are so 
common that they cease here to be disgraceful. 

Thursday 9th, I did nothing. Friday evening loth, a servant with 2 good 
horses arrived. Saturday i ith, I put my baggage on to the negroe's horse, got 
onto the other, and rode to New Glasgow without meeting with or seeing any 
thing worthy notice. I put up with Mr Garland and yet board with him, but I 
shall not long, for he lives rather too far from the Academy. I shall soon go to 
board with Dr. Brown,^ the principal Physician in town and one of the 
corporation.'* New Glasgow is a village of about 50 houses butifuUy situated, high 
and healthy. I have got acquainted with a number of the inhabitants, and am so 
far pleased with the inhabitants, the place and my prospects. The corporation met 
last Wednesday 14th and I commenced my charge the next day. The Academy is 
a large brick building with 6 private rooms for scholars to reside in, besides school 
rooms.° It is most as large as Middlebury College. A fine little convenient 
dwelling house for the President of the Academy.® I shall occupy it, or at least 
have my study in it. I teach the Latin, Greek, and French. There is also a 
Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy, an old bachelor of about 50 years old 
who has followed teaching all his life and is a very good one in the English 
branches, but has no acquaintance with the Languages. There is a female 
academy likewise, taught in a different building. 

My expenses from Alexandria here was about 25 dollars. For the first 50 miles 
stage fare was 1 2j^ cents pr. mile and the rest of the way 10. 1 bought some 
cloathes before I left Alexandria, and I bought them cheaper than I could in Vt. 
I left 1 50 dollars with a friend in Alex, who will forward it to you as soon as he 
gets proper money. I have received a letter from him on the last of this month. I 
was very much frightened about my last letter. The day before I received yours 
of the 1 5th, I received the Washingtonian of the 1 3 saying no letter from Elijah. 
I feared myself it had got lost. It put me in a terrible flutteration. I sat down and 
scribbled another letter to you in haste, but I fortunately did not put it in the P. 



PART I: 1808-1829 37 

office before I received the next day your letter. I tore it open and you may 
depend devoured its contents in haste. I was pleased with its general content, but 
to have you think [that? ] I help you reluctantly wounded me in the nicest point. 
I could bear [with? ] a silent sob, when at home and dependent, the frequent 
reflection that I should never repay you for your unbounded kindness, but now 
when every exertion is to that end, such suspicions or reflections strike deep. I 
conjure you, if you still believe me that hard-hearted, ungrateful child, that you 
would not tell me of it. It is what I cannot bear. I forget what I wrote you, but 
God knows I did not mean to insinuate that I let you have money unwillingly, 
that I thought it hard to spend one or even ten years if it would add to your, 
ma'am's, or the families happiness. What money I let you have goes as free as 
water, I value the dollars no more than chips. I feel more happy in letting you 
have them than spending them myself. I am glad to think my parents are in a 
situation to want my existance, for I can never be happier than when adding to 
their comfort and convenience. The paying the notes I gave you is nothing. I 
shall be as much your debtor then as ever. The debt of gratitude is different 
[from] all other debts, the more one tries to pay it the more he finds himself 
indebted. You will have as much right to ask and receive of me then as ever. My 
purse strings shall ever be open to you, as any of the family, and the contents 
shall be as much yours or theirs as mine. I repeat it again, our interest is common 
and I can never be happy while a father, a mother, a brother, or sister is in want. 
I will say no more about this. 

You want me to tell you how letters will get here. Only direct them to Elijah 
F., President of New Glasgow Academy, Amherst Co., Va., and they will get to 
me only 3 days later than they came to Alexandria. I have received 2 numbers of 
the W ashlng^tonian] already here and one letter from N[athan] P. F[letcher]. 
The mail does not go or come from this but once a week. This day it starts to the 
north. I shall not give you a very minute description about my present situation, 
I shall be better able to do it when I have been here longer. In fact I have not 
time. I am contented with my prospects and situation so far. I meant to have 
written you last week, but I have been so much engaged in regulating matters 
and settling myself that I had not time. I will write you again before a months 
end. As soon as you receive the money, write me, and even before if it does not 
come soon, for you cant tell how anxious I am for the well being and welfare of 
the family. I began with an intent filling out this sheet but I have got tired and 
can write no more now. I am in the best of health. I bid you, ma'am, my brothers 
and sisters, farewell. 

Your Elijah for ever 

* This river was the Rappahannock, not the Appomattox. ^ Concerning this letter Julian P. Boyd, editor 

of The Papers of Thomas Jeferson, wrote Mar. 23, 1955: "Fletcher was, of course, merely repeating the 
calumnies that had been made public by Jefferson's enemies years earlier (most notably around 1802 In a 
Richmond newspaper). The first to publish the charge was one Callender, whose character was about as low 
as his methods. Fletcher undoubtedly found many — or at least some — people in and around Charlottesville 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 38 

who believed the charge, just as you can find many there today who accept It as fully proven. But to infer 
from this that Jefferson was disliked by his neighbors is palpably wrong. Fletcher had not been in the 
neighborhood long enough to know that Jefferson was and had been esteemed for half a century by the 
Gilmers, the Lewises, the Merlwethers, and others who made up the substantial people of the country." 
See also C. A. Jelllson, "That Scoundrel Callendcr," Virginia Mag. of HIsl. & Biog., July, 1959, pp. 295-306. 
' Dr. James Murray Brown, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, came to Amherst County and named the place 
where he settled New Glasgow (Philip A. Bruce, Virginia, The Rebirth of the Old Dominion [Chicago and 
New York, 1929], V, III). Elder brother of Dr. Thomas Brown, the metaphysician, of Edinburgh University, 
he was an esteemed citizen of the community, and was "the attending physician during his last illness and one 
of the witnesses of the will" of Col. William Cabell, who died In 1798 (Alexander Brown, The Cahells and 
Their Kin [Richmond, 1939], p. 132). He later moved to Lynchburg, where he died in 1824. His was the 
first grave In the Presbyterian cemetery, according to a marker erected by the cemetery trustees In 
1 93 I. * Trustees of the New Glasgow Academy in 180; were: William S. Crawford, Joseph Burrus, John 

Camm, Joel Franklin, Samuel Meredith, Robert Walker, William H. Cabell, Hudson M. Garland, James 
M. Brown, Charles Crawford, William Cabell, and Edmund Penn (Amherst County Deed Book, vol. K, 
p. 340), See Appendix III for more details on the Academy. ^ The site of the New Glasgow Academy 

has long been the subject of conjecture, and at least two different opinions have been advanced. Evidence 
which has been found regarding its location Is given in Appendix IIL ^ The house closest to the probable 

site of the Academy, presumably the one mentioned here by Elijah, was owned for some years by Valerius 
McGInnIs, Jr., according to his daughter. This house is still occupied, but it has undergone many changes; 
Mabel McGInnis Patteson remembers it as having two rooms with corner fireplaces on the first floor and 
a little attic room above, with the kitchen as a separate structure. 



New Glasgow 
June 9, 1 81 1 
Dear Parent, 

It is sabbath morning, I have eaten breakfast, my thoughts are with you. I 
have sat me down before meeting-time to communicate a few of them. It is not 
yet a month since I wrote you last, but that is of no consequence while my anxious 
mind is busied in thinking of home, of a dear father and mother, brothers and 
sisters. I want some way to speak and converse with you, and this is the only way 
at present. I know you will not consider it burthensome to give twenty-five cents 
in exchange for a good long letter from me for I know you are my father, and 
that your children are more precious to you than money. For my part I deem a 
quarter of a dollar no equivalent for one of your letters. I am sorry you cannot 
spare time to write me oftener. I think hard that Lucy or some of the others will 
not trouble themselves to now and then give me a letter. 

I told you it was before church-time. You will consequently conclude we have a 
meeting-house and a minister. We have both — a very decent meetinghouse for 
this country, and a Presbyterian preacher. The church is small and the professors 
of religion not numerous. There is but very few Episcopalians in these parts.^ 
Methodist and Babtist are many. Universalists none, but many deists for a 
substitute. The Presbyterian tenets are very similar to your congregational. They 
only differ a little in church Government. They call their deacons elders. But 
they are not quite so rigid and strenuous as your full-blooded Hopkintonians. 
They preach extemporaneously, and never pretend to read their sermons. The 
custom is during service to stand up when they sing, and all set or kneal during 
prayertime. The ministers have but little uniform in their dress, few of them 
wear black. You would think it laughable to see the whole congregation rise in 



PART I: 1808-1829 39 

singing time; preposterous, to see them set in prayer time, and would as soon 
expect to see a man enter the pulpit with military regimentals on, as with a white 
hat, light colored coat, white pantaloons &c &c. So much for the power of habit 
and custom in different places. The methodist conduct themselves in the same 
hoUoring, screaming-feinting manner they do with you. They make a great many 
proselytes among the poor negroes. 

I have changed my boarding house. I now live with Dr. Brown. He is a very 
inteligent religious man, one of the Elders of this church, a native of Scotland. His 
wife is likewise a strict religious woman. They have five children, the oldest 
about fifteen. We live in very elegant style, have breakfast at seven in the 
morning, dinner at 3 p.m. but no supper. It is not customary about here to eat 
supper. I don't like the plan for I am hearty, and have a very good appetite to eat 
three times a day. I mean to request them to send me a glass of milk and a biscuit 
if nothing more at night. I believe they are very generous people and will readily 
do it, if I ask. The people here are as fond of sour milk and butter milk, as they 
are among the Dutch, but it is no rarity to me yet. They also eat a great deal [of] 
Indian bread or what they term hoe-cake — made thin, like your jonny-cake — but 
baked upon an iron in a manner that it tastes much different and much better. I 
think it is much preferable to rye and Indian. They have warm wheat bread for 
breakfast, but warm hoe-cake for dinner. 

I have moved into my house. Mr Garland has furnished me with furniture, so 
I live all alone. The academy is situated a little way from town, in a small grove. 
There is four acres of land belonging to it, which will soon be fenced in for the 
limits of the scholars." My house is about 20 rods from it with a handsome fence 
around it, shade trees, a back kitchen (for the Kitchen here is always a separate 
house) a smoke house &c &c with all conveniencies for a family. The garden is 
much out of order and as I came so late shall not improve it this year. Thus I am 
situated. I have between twenty and thirty scholars to teach for my part. The 
regulations for governing my scholars is very excellent. The Trustees appoint a 
committee to visit us once a week, and if any large scholar is obstinate or 
disobedient, and disregards my admonition, I have only to report his case and 
conduct to this visiting committee who will suspend, rusticate, or expel! as the 
nature of the offence may require. The scholars are as feared of these 
punishments, for they are considered as disgraceful, as the scholars in New 
England would be at their colleges. But I am happy to think my scholars at 
present appear all well disposed, attentive, and studious. I make one of them read 
the laws ever)' morning before prayers and, you may be assured, I spare no pains 
to gain their esteem and obedience, to raise their ambition, and make them 
improve. 

The school hours are from nine o'clock till half past one, from half past 3 
o'clock till half past 5. The principal vacations in a year are two, a month each. 
The year is divided into two sessions of five months each. We have a few short 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 40 

vacations in these sessions, such as a week at Christmas, three days at Easter, and 
as many at Whitsuntide &c. We keep only five days for the week, so to extract all 
these months, weeks, and days, I have about half the days of a year to myself. 
The tuition of the scholars is ten dollars the session. I expect my salary will 

amount to . I wont tell you now, I can calculate better upon it hereafter. I 

believe I have given you a particular description of my situation, circumstances, 
and prospects. I may have, however, omitted many things, which you would like 
to know about. If so, mention them in your next letter and I will satisfy you. I 
must drop my pleasant employment now to go to church, for you yourself have 
probably mounted your old grey mare by this time and gone to Mr Peter Reed's 
meeting. I therefore bid you farewell for a while. 

Sunday evening 4 o'clock p.m. Sir, I have been to church, eaten my dinner, 
and returned to my habitation. We have but one exercise. I have commenced 
again to write you something more. The season has yet been pleasant and not 
excessivly hot ; showers are frequent, and very hard. Thunder and lightening 
much louder and sharper than I ever saw in Vt. Wheat begins to turn. People 
will begin to harvest the last of this month. They dont have any haying of 
consequence to do, and that they do after harvest. Wheat and Tobacco are the 
two grand crops which the planters depend upon. As for rye, they raise but little, 
and of cotton, no more than for their own consumption. The cotton is planted in 
hills like corn and hoed and cultivated in the same way. It grows up like a weed, 
two feet high, branches out and bears a pod about as big as a butternut, and much 
in the shape of a short thick one, which pods contain the cotton, and will dry and 
open when they become ripe, or when the frost bites them. The season and land 
here is not very well adapted to the raising it. 

I have received three numbers of the Washingtonian since my arrival. The last 
one missed. It takes them about twelve days to reach here, sometimes more. The 
notes on the one of the 1 3th of May brought unpleasant news — that sister Fanny 
was sick at home, Stephen sick at Pawlet,^ Jesse discontented, wishing to leave 
you, and to crown all, daddy almost discouraged. My anxiety has been very great 
to hear from home since. I trust the next news will not be so gloomy and 
unhappy. At the same time, I can't but sometimes fear it will be worse. I hope to 
be relieved from my present suspense and solicitude by a letter from home ere 
you get this. I must acknowledge you have troubles, difficulties, and perplexities 
enough to discourage any one less tried and experienced in them than yourself. 
But I fondly hope they will become less as you grow older. My earnest wish is 
that you should not labor to the injury of your constitution or health. Your life 
and health is important to the welfare of many. Nothing earthly could 
recompense a numerous family for the loss of so good a parent. 

If Jesse is determined to leave you, which I hope not, you will probably be 
obliged to hire. I have thought and could say many things concerning his living 
with you. But far be it from me to wish to disconcert either of your plans or 



PART I: 1808-1829 41 

inclination. I hope you will be happy in the choice of a son to live with you, and 
superintend your affairs when you are no longer able to do it yourself. I think 
there is much depending upon this choice — no less than your and maams 
happiness in your latter days, the right education of the younger brothers, and 
sisters, and the good disposal and care of your property. It would be unhappy and 
unpleasant to compell a son to live with you against his will. It would likewise be 
equally unhappy and unpleasant for you to make a choice of one contrary to the 
wish and inclination of ma'am. Children are full apt enough to treat their parents 
bad in their old age, let the parents love the children ever so much. But, when 
there is no affection from a parent to a child, that child must be uncommonly 
virtuous, wise, and good, who would administer to the many wants and 
indulgences of an aged parent. I have not heard from Tim for a long while nor 
from Mike, only what you wrote. I have written to them both since here. I wrote 
Stephen a little note, enclosed in a letter I wrote to Mr. Goodell. I should have 
written him lately but I feared his sickness has made him leave P[awlet] for 
home. 

Monday evening lOth. This day the mail comes in from the north. It brought 
me two W ashingtonians and a letter from brother Michael. This, in some 
measure, relieves my anxiety for, if any thing extraordinary had happened, I 
conclude you would have noted it on one. Michael's letter was dated the 20th 
ultimo. It mentioned his good health and prosperity. I hope he is forgetting 
times past, and beginning anew. He mentioned that he had wrote to you a 
number times, but that he got no letters from home. I recollect now, last 
summer, when I was at Albany, he complained that the family none of them 
wrote to him. He thinks you neglect him. I am sensible it is wrong, for he is a 
brother among us and we ought to do every thing to animate and encourage, 
rather than dampen or lower his spirits. 

The mail also brought me a letter from Alexandria which, to my great 
disappointment, informed me that the hundred and fifty dollars was not yet sent 
you. Mr Gullatt, with whom I left it, said he had not yet been able to procure 
suitable bills. I should have myself got a draft upon some northern bank, before I 
left there, but I could not get one upon a bank that would answer my turn. But, 
after all, I am sure of getting it to you soon. A merchant from this town will go 
to Philidelphia the last of next week. I shall give him an order to call upon Mr. 
Gullatt, and, if not sent on, take it and carry it to Philidelphia, where there can be 
no difficulty in obtaining New York bills at any time. I shall not send you any 
more than this at present but, if life and health is mine, you may expect the full 
balance of the notes within five months. 

Friday morning 14th. I must now complete my letter; for the Mail, this day, 
goes to the north. I have nothing more in particular to write. I enjoy the best of 
health and am contented. I frequently anticipate the day I shall return and see 
you, but God alone knows when the happy hour will arrive. This is a mystery 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 42 

enveloped in the womb of futurity. I live in hopes. I trust that the Great God of 
heaven has not in reserve for me and my friends so bitter a cup as that of never 
meeting again. 

I suppose Calvin and Miles will be your two principal men this summer, 
especially if Jesse leaves you. Please to tell them if they will raise me a horse 
worth a hundred dollars I will pay them the cash for it when I come home. I am 
thinking you will have a pretty hard time of it next haying and harvest. It is but 
two years since I was at home to help you. I wish you to give me a detailed 
account of your success, for I am as pleased to hear every thing about home as you 
can be to hear about me. I have furnished myself with some good large paper 
that I can have room to tell you all my thoughts and circumstances. I suppose my 
letters will be about three days longer coming to you now than from Alexandria. 

You may tell our good friends in Ludlow that I have become President of an 
Academy here with a salary of a thousand dollars per year which will do for their 
envious spirits to knaw upon, till I can tell them some better news, and tell them 
the truth. 

Elijah 

^ "The brick church now at New Glasgow was built [about 1760] by a general subscription, but chiefly by 
Episcopalians, and regularly assigned to them, but afterward claimed by others and forcibly entered by the 
Campbellites [a Presbyterian sect]. It was then bought, by the Episcopalians, of the executors of David 
Garland [d. 1841], to whom it legally belonged, being on his land, and was regularly consecrated as an 
Episcopal Church [St. Marks]" (Meade, op. cit., II, 58) ^ See Appendix III for the description of the 

site contained in the deed of sale. ^ Stephen was apparently attending school at Pawlet, a small town west 

of Ludlow, in Rutland County. 



New Glasgow 
Nov. [29, 181 1] 
Dear Sir, 

It is some time since I have written to you & a long while since I have received 
a letter from you. Altho' it has for some time been a vacation with me, I have 
been so employed by one avocation or other as not to have time to write. 

The week after vacation commenced, I started on a ride to Nottaway County, 
about a hundred miles to the east of this. My object for taking this trip was to 
view the country & meet my friend Spooner. This was about half way to where he 
lives. He wished to have an interview with me & desired me to meet him there. 
Mr. Garland favored me with a horse as usual & gave me a letter of 
recommendation to Col. Chick' where I might call & stay the first night. I arrived 
at Col C's before night, where I was very hospitably & welcomely entertained. 
The old Lady bound up my soar finger & put salve on it as kindly as a good 
mother. The next morning after breakfast I started & had not rode more than 
twelve miles before it began to rain very hard. I was in a terrible plight, for fear 
not finding a house soon to shelter myself from the inclement storm. I however 
soon came to a little cabin & the rain beat down so hard I was forced to stop & 



PART I: 1808-1829 43 

make the best of my humble situation. The inside of the house looked better than 
the outside indicated. The man, tho' a ragged savage-looking being, appeared 
accommodating & obliging. They had whiskey enough to drink and /loe cake 
enough to eat, and a dry stable & corn for my horse. It rained all day very hard. I 
took my book out of my pocket & after chatting a while with the old man & 
woman went to reading. 

The next day I proceeded on my journey & the day after met Mr. Spooner. 
We had a very happy interview. We talked all our old affairs over & much about 
our friends in Vermont & laid open to each other our present situation & future 
prospects. We proposed returning together some future day to Vermont but set 
no particular time when. Mr Spooner is studying Law and calculates to 
commence the practice soon. He is a very amiable inteligent young man and not, 
as many suppose, an undutiful child. If circumstances were as he relates them, I 
think he had reason for leaving home. We were together three days before we 
parted. On my return home I passed through the county where John Randolph 
resides, Charlotte County. His constituents appear when speaking of him very 
much attached to him. He is not a married man but rich & lives upon his own 
plantation. 

The second day of my ride home, passing along in silent meditation through 
the woods, I heard a horrid noise of holloring, bellowing &c. at a distance. I was 
much frightened & quickened my pace, hastened along with much solicitude to 
learn the cause. After riding about two miles from where I first heard the noise, 
beheld a great multitude gathered together, some preaching, some praying, some 
singing, some groaning, some shouting, some rejoicing, some crying & lamenting. 
I stopped, dismounted, tied my horse to the limb of a tree & went to them. It was 
a methodist camp meeting. I need not give you a particular description of it for 
you have been witness to such scenes yourself. They had a long string of little 
huts or as they call them tents, built up. I walked around in solemn silence to 
view all their merrement. They were then exhorting & comferting moaners & no 
one preaching. Many appeared in the height of agonizing distress while others, 
freed from the burthen of sinful guilt, were rejoicing in their salvation. It was 
not a scene which could excite in me ridicule or derision, but rather sympathetic 
emotions. Even here the well-known Virginia hospitality was not wanting. 
Many, tho' strangers, came up & spoke to me & one gentleman accosted me in this 
manner: "Sir, you appear to be a stranger and just arrived. Perhaps you have not 
with [you] your dinner. Will you vouchsafe to take a cold cut in my tent.""' I 
thankfully complyed with his invitation. I went in & ate heartily of roast beef & I 
had a warm bread &:c. As it was most night & I had three or four miles to ride 
before I came to Col. Chicks, I soon left them & arrived home the next day. I was 
absent nine days. 

After my return Dr. Brown gave me an invitation to ride to Lynchburg 
with him where he was going to a sacrement." In the Presbyterian churches 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 44 

they have but two sacrement a year & when they do have them at any place, 
the elders and ministers from the churches around about attend. He gave 
me one of his horses to ride. It is about twenty five miles south of this. Lynchburg 
is a town bout as big as Windsor. It is situated at the head of navigation in James 
River, a very flourishing town. The river there is as wide as Connecticut River at 
Windsor and boats of heavier burthen come up it. Our Produce is sent down this 
river to Richmond about 1 20 miles, which is our general market. Richmond — the 
seat of government — is as large as Albany & as large vessels can come up to it. 
It is a hundred & fifty miles from Norfolk which is situated at the mouth of 
James River. We went to Lynch, on Saturday, we put up at Parson Reid's,^ 
attended Sermon the evening. The next day after hearing two discourses 
they administered the sacrement. There were three ministers present. The 
administration of the sacrement is much as with you, except they have a long 
table spread at which the communicants sit down & the elements is thus handed 
them by the elders. 

In your last letter you propose several questions which I will try [to] answer. 

New Glasgow is not a new town but it has a new name.* The name was 
changed four or five years ago. It is about 400 miles from this to Lexington, the 
former capital of Kentucky. I don't know just how far it is to the Kentucky line. 
This is about sixty miles to N. Carolina line. The buildings in town are not so 
large & elegant as in many places. They are composed of several stores, mechanic 
shops, and dwelling houses. People in this country are not so much given to 
elegant buildings as in New England. Rich planters frequently have small & 
inconvenient dwelling houses. The plantations in this country, as I have before 
told you, are large & extensive. They cultivate a great deal without ever 
manuring it, which renders it soon poor & barren. On their fresh land they 
cultivate tobacco. It requires the strongest and best land to raise this weed & it 
soon destroys the land. It is so destructive to land, many begin to see the 
empropriety of raising it & turn their attentions more to the raising of wheat. You 
ask "how they can raise so much wheat." Why, sir, a rich planter will plow up a 
field of a hundred acres as easy as you can one of six or ten. The soil is light. They 
have different ploughs from yours, what are called coalters, without any 
mouldboard & not much of a share. One horse draws a plough & one man with 
leading lines about his neck manages him. Eight or ten plow at once in a field. 
New England ploughs begin to be introduced; they are far better than the 
Virginia. They plow much deeper & turn a wider furrow but it takes two horses to 
draw them. 

Hills of corn are planted about five feet apart. Fields are not measured by acres 
but by the number of hills. They never hoe corn but plow it many times. At the 
last time of plowing corn, wheat is generally sewn & after the corn is gathered the 
remaining stocks are cut down & carried into heeps and burnt for they are so large 



PART I: 1808-1829 45 

it would take a long while for them to rot. A thousand hills on an acre generally 
produces from ten to fifteen bushels. The price of corn this year is ten shillings 
per barrel, as they measure their corn by barrels instead of bushels, but a barrel 
contains five bushels, which makes the corn two shillings the bushel. It is not 
generally quite so cheap. Wheat sells at six or seven shillings the bushel. The 
straw of the wheat — the tops (in the Yankee language, "stalks") and s/iucks 
(husks) compose the principal foddar for their cattle through the winter. They 
however feed horses most altogether upon grains. Many begin to raise clover for 
the improvement of land — cut one crop & let the next grow and rest on the land. 
It is an excellent plan and the only way to redeem their desolate fields and make 
them fertile. It is impossible to manure so great a quantity of land as they 
cultivate & it consequently soon becomes barren. If the land was more equally 
distributed and each man would, like the New England farmer, cultivate a little 
& cultivate it well, this would be a far happier & better countr)'. But slavery — a 
curse to any country — & the unequal distribution of property render these States 
far behind the N. England in improvements of every kind. Their lands are not so 
well cultivated & their manufactures have not arisen to that degree of perfection. 

Their is a great opening here for enterprising men of every profession. I 
wonder more New Englanders do not migrate to this country. It is an excellent 
place for Instructors, for ministers, for doctors & especially for manufacturers 
and mechanics. There is not a clothier within sixty miles of this in any direction & 
the people make a great deal cloth but generally wear it without being draped. I 
wish }'ou could encourage some enterprising young men of this business to come & 
settle here. If you will get one willing to come, I will make proposals to him 
which will be flattering. 

I rode out yesterday with Mr Garland, as he had business fifteen or sixteen 
miles off & wished me to accompany him. He is one of the most agreeable & best 
of men. He has a very extensive fortune, a great part of which he has acquired by 
his own industry & economy. He resigned his seat in Congress at the last election 
to arrange & take care of his affairs at home. He wishes me to come & board with 
him next Session and make his house my home. I have not concluded yet whether 
I shall or not. It is not quite so convenient as where I now board. ^ It is about as 
far from the Academy as from your house to Mr. Smiths Shop. I am some afraid 
I shall ofTend Dr. Browns family if I go to Mr G's to board & I would not do 
that for any thing, they have used me so kindly. Mrs. Brown is one of the most 
sincere, pious, charitable, friendly women I ever met with. She must be a true 
Christian if there are any. 

I heard by a letter from Tim that Jesse had left you & gone to Weathersfield. I 
can scarcely credit such an improbable report. I know that he has been laboring 
for you in his own time & he ought to have some recompense secured him for it. 
No one can be so unjust as to desire him to labor without a reward, at the same 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 46 

time he should have some moderation in exacting the reward. I have had one 
letter from Lucy since she was at Middlebury.'' I suppose she will have returned 
home before you get this letter. 

Friday 24th. 

I shall send you two hundred dollars by the next mail. I send it to a friend in 
Philidelphia who will exchange it for suitable bills & immediately forward it to 
you. I have already resumed my imployment. I should have sent the money on 
before but I have been waiting for this young man to go to Philidelphia. He was 
one of my friends in Alexandria & has gone to Philidelphia as a medical student.' 
He wrote me by the last mail that he had just arrived there and would transact 
any business I wished him. 

For many little reasons I have delayed closing this letter as soon as I ought. I 
measure the degree of your impatience to hear from [me] by mine to hear from 
you. I believe it is three months if not more since I heard from home. Last 
Saturday I felt something unwell but now feel in perfect health & good spirits. 
Mrs. Garland told me the other evening when I was there & talking about our 
family and my mother's many fears about my health, if my ma'am saw how well 
& robust I looked, she would not have reason to apprehend any danger. My 
friends here ask many questions about my father's family, of what religion you & 
Ma'am are of, &c.&c. I frequently talk with them about you. The 
recommendation which Governor Galusha gave me spoke in very handsome 
terms of my family & connections, which is better than all the praises lavished 
upon myself alone, as they were in many of my recommendations. 

I expect to hear from you before you get this letter. If I do not, keep me no 
longer ignorant of your situation, and if you have written the week before, write 
again immediately on receiving the money. I dont know whether the two 
hundred dollars will be enough to pay ten dollars for Lucy [and] satisfy your 
demands. If not, I will send more soon. I have received the papers which tell me 
that your Thanksgiving will be the 5th of next month & papers which contain the 
principal part of the preceeding of your Legislature. The general assembly in 
this state commences Session next week. 

I once more bid you, Dear Sir, & the whole family an affectionate farewell, 

Elijah 

^ Efforts to identify Colonel Chick have been unsuccessful. ^ Lynchburg was established as a town by the 

General Assembly of Virginia in Oct. 1786, including "the forty-five acres of land, the property of John 
Lynch, and lying contiguous to Lynch's ferry" (W. W. Hening, ed.. Statutes at Large of Virginia 
[Richmond, 1823] XII, 398). It was incorporated in 1805. A census taken in 1816 registered the popu- 
lation as 1,765 white and 1,322 colored {Code of the City of Lynchburg^ Va. [Lynchburg, 1887], p. 
220). ^ The Reverend William S. Reid (1778-1853), a graduate of Princeton in 1802, came to Lynch- 
burg in 1808 from Hampden-Sydney College, where he had been teaching and serving as Acting President. 
He took over the school for boys formerly headed by the Reverend James Tompkins, and later opened a 
boarding school for young ladies. A distinguished preacher, he also organized a Presbyterian church in 1 815 
and was its pastor from 1822 to 1848 (D.A.B., XV, 486). Some years later he was active in the group which 
tried to start a free public high school. "Father Reid, as he was affectionately called . . . did much for the 



PART I: 1808-1829 47 

town as a preacher, teacher, and public citizen. He gave the ground and built the first Presbyterian Church" 
(W. Asbury Christian, Lynchburg and Its People [Lynchburg, 1900], pp. 138, 158). "* Fifty acres of the 

area which was first called New Glasgow by Dr. James M. Brown was incorporated as the town of Cabells- 
burg by an act of the General Assembly in 1785. The older name was reestablished by another act on 
Jan. 19, 1803, whereby "lots laid off by David S. Garland at a place called New Glasgow in the County of 
Amherst be established a town by the name of New Glasgow" (Hcning, op. cit., XII, 229, and Shepherd, 
op, cit,, n.s. II, 419). For a short time after the separation of Nelson County from Amherst on June i, 1808, 
New Glasgow was the county seat of Amherst (Brown, op. cit., p. 220). The village's name was changed 
once more, to Clifford, with the establishment of a post office under that name in 1883, to differentiate it 
from New Glasgow Depot, three miles to the east on the railroad. ^ Dr. Brown's home, Camperdown, is 

still standing directly across the road from the present Clifford School and from the nearest house, presumably 
that occupied by Elijah. David Garland's house is one-third of a mile from where Elijah was then board- 
ing. ®A letter to her father written Sept. 27, 181 1, indicates Lucy's recent arrival in Middlebury, where 
she was attending an academy. ^ This was undoubtedly Dr. John P. Cobbs, first referred to by name in the 
letter of Nov. 6, 1812. 



New Glasgow 
Dec. 23d, 181 1 

I sent my boy to the Postoffice about twelve oclock & to my great joy he 
returned with three letters for me and one paper — one from my dear Father, one 
from Nathan P F, and the other from Brother Tim. Yours appeared to be 
written in a melancholy hour, but was pleasingly acceptable. I have finished my 
days labor, I have been to dinner — we dine about an hour by sun — & I ought 
according to the rules of politeness have spent the evening in the company of 
some young ladies visiting at the Dr's. But the contents of your letters emplored 
my thoughts & not the present company. I stayed with them about an hour after 
dinner & was so absent minded I concluded it would be advisable to retire. I have 
returned, my boy has got me a good fire, I have read all your letters over a 
second time. I have now commenced another great large letter to be ready for 
the next Fridays mail. I think you have not much reason to complain of 
my negligence in writing you. The space between my two last letters might have 
been too long. But forgetting my best & dearest parents was not the cause. If I 
do not write often, I write full & lengthy letters. I wish not to burthen you with 
too much postage on my account. If it were not expensive to you, I should write 
you every week; yes, as often as the mails went to the north. My correspondence 
with N. P. is upon free cost.^ I write to him short letters by which you can always 
hear of my health & his answers will always give me information of your 
prosperity. 

I was glad to hear your arrangements for a winter school & no less glad to hear 
the person you have employed as instructor. My acquaintance with Mr. Clark is 
slight but my opinion of him very favorable. I venture to predict you will find 
him a thorough correct scholar & the best instructor you could have procured at 
Mid[dlebur)'] Col [lege]. I pray you to let Stephen spend his whole ti/ne with 
him. It will be as good for him as to be at the Academy ; and if possible, let Lucy 
continue her studies with him. I would not consider boarding him any burthen. 
Prepare him and Stephen a room where they can study without interruption. Let 
Lucy continue her studies this winter & the time she has spent at Mid[dlebury] 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 48 

will be some advantage to her. But I must not, in my great solicitude for Lucy, 
forget Laura's right, or my wish that she should have equal advantages while 
you have so great an opportunity. The children ought to lay by their work and 
enjoy the benefit of it. I hope you will treat Mr. Clark with that respect his 
important charge & abilities merit & I am sensible he will well earn his 1 5 dollars 
per month. 

I expect the actual receipt of the two hundred dollars I forwarded the first of 
the month has done away your fears & eased you a little from your 
embarrasments. All the money I have transmitted here to fore has arrived to 
your hand so safely I have but few fears about this. The friend who takes charge 
of it at Philadelphia is faithful & will do his duty. I can figure to myself exactly 
how maam looked & with what a kind, motherly smile she told you to tell me to 
send money. No, Dear maam, "I will never see you in low circumstances" or any 
of the family while my purse contains a single guinea, without cheerfully 
opening it to your relief. I am not very mercenary. For my single self, money has 
but few charms. If it was not to aid and assist my friends, I fear I should be too 
inactive and indifferent about accumulating wealth. I have promised Tim: two or 
three hundred dollars next spring, which if life & health is given me I will let 
him have. I dont wish for any note or any return to myself. It will be a free gift, 
with this requisition, that he does the same kindness to any Brother or Sister 
when they are in like wants. As I have told you before, you must consider my 
debt to you as great as ever, for my willingness to afford assistance is not 
diminished. Call upon me without reserve and if it be in my power, your calls 
shall not be unanswered. If circumstances permit, I shall send fifty dollars next 
summer to maam to [use? ] herself and distribute among my sisters. I was 
freequently called a hard-hearted, ungrateful, unfeeling child. A correct account 
of my feelings & what I have passed through would best determine whether I 
merited the epithets. I believe if I loved my heavenly as well as earthly parents, 
I should be a better Christian than I am. It is some time since I heard from 
Brother Mich. In his last letter he intimated something about coming to 
Virginia. I have written him a number [of] times since in the State, reprobating 
his conduct in plain terms and trying to excite his ambition. In my last letter I 
told him to purchase a lot of land & I would help him pay for it, or if he had not 
courage enough to do that, to come to me & I would get him into employment 
where he could earn two or three hundred dollars the year. Whether he will 
come or what he will do, the Lord only knows. I will do any thing to assist him 
but if his former habits cling to him, I fear assistance will avail little. I reckon 
however — for we reckon here in Virginia instead of guessing — if he comes here at 
such a distance from the scenes of his misfortunes, he will be more apt to reform. 
Tuesday night 24th — & so Jes. is before this married.^ What is he to do with 
his wife & where is he to live, I wonder.? Your kind letter, I believe, contains a few 
hints and cautions for my consideration on subjects of this kind. Your advise shall 
be to me weighty in this as in all other things. You have the wisdom of experience 



PART I: 1808-1829 49 

& are capable &, I am sensible, willing to give me salutary council. I have no 
delicacy in speaking to you upon the subject. In fact, I have ever considered to be 
my duty as much to consult the pleasure of my own parents as hers with whom I 
would unite my destinies. I will never trouble you with the whimsical nonsense 
of a love-sick boy. But when I am serious in an affair whose consequences are so 
lasting & important to my future prosperity, I shall not fail to communicate it to 
you. I have, to be sure, become acquainted with a young Lady in this place of 
amiable manners and disposition for whom I have more than common [regard? ] 
& with whom I am on terms of intimacy. But the prospect of any nearer 
connection is at present very distant. I presume I shall visit you once more in my 
single state. Giving away to the softer passions & feelings in too great a degree is 
detrimental to my worldly interest. It affects my studies in a particular manner. 
A young man in study ought not to devote much of his time to the graces. It is 
as impossible to worship at the temples of Venus and Minerva at the same time as 
to serve God and Mammon. Tomorrow is our Christmas. I now have a week 
vacation. It is about 1 2 o'clock, I will not write any more for it is bedtime. 

Thursday night. We began Christmas yesterday morning by drinking egg- 
punch. That is, by the custom of this day, always the drink of the day. Every 
family make their bowl. We had a sermon preached in the Church. After 
meeting I received an invitation to dine at Mr. Crawfords.^ I did not return till 
today noon. The weather is moderate and mild. We have had no snow yet but 
some cold days. I can however see the mountains at a distance in the west look 
white. They have been covered with snow sometime. I have perfectly good 
success in my employment — no disturbance, no fuss nor discord. I live in the 
greatest harmony & friendship with my pupils. My employment is rendered 
pleasant by the peace and unanmity which presides. I try to live upon the same 
terms with them that a kind parent would with his children. I chide them when 
faulty both great & small, I applaud them when their conduct is praiseworthy. 
The business of instructing was to me when I first commenced laborious & 
fatiguing. It is yet in some degree the same but nothing so much so as formerly. I 
worried myself then more than was necessary. It requires at any time a great deal 
commonsense, a great deal prudence & discretion to guide the steps of youth. 

Tomorrow is a day of festivity with the Masons. The society celebrate it in this 
place & have a ball in the evening. The ball is given by the Lodge. I generally 
have tickets to attend balls but always follow my good old custom of staying at 
home. I never want to dance and never have [regretted? ] it. I should like to 
hear from Stephen, but for some cause or other he seems disposed not to write me 
or let me know anything how he succeeds in his studies. I know not what advise 
to give him for I am unacquainted with his pursuits. You will probably have 
another letter coming to me before this reaches you, for I presume you will delay 
no time after receiving the money, informing me thereof. 

I have but a few words more to write. I must soon close and bid you another 
adieu. Language is incapable expressing my ardent desire & anxiety for all your 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER SO 

health, happiness & prosperity. O that I was by your fireside this evening, that I 
might address you face to face. But it is a pleasure which I am deprived of at 
present, tho' I trust I shall one day enjoy it. I hope certainly, from the last two 
hundred dollars maam will get a new gowne and a pound of snuff. Where have 
you set your woodhouse? What are you to do with the room your plastering in 
it?* Is it for Jesse to live in, or where is he to live? Has Calvin begun to study 
Arithmetic yet? Farewell. 

Elijah 

^ Nathan Fletcher had recently become postmaster at Ludlow. He served until 1825. He built the first hotel 
there in 1808 and opened the first law ofiice in 1814 (Harris, op. cit., pp. 109, 124, 127). ^ Jesse 

Fletcher, Jr., married Betsey Potwin. ^ There can be little doubt that this is William S. Crawford 

(1760— 181 5), a trustee of the Academy. "* This may be the upper-floor room in the Fletcher home which 

has an unusual groined plaster ceiling. Family tradition says it was used as a meeting place for the Masonic 
order for some years. 

New Glasgow 
Saturday Morning, Feb. 29th, 1812 

It is a very pleasant warm day. People have planted their early potatoes, made 
their gardens & sowed their peas sometime ago. The winter has been much more 
pleasant this winter than the last. We have had but one small snow and very little 
wet rainy weather. I am sitting in my room this morning without fire. That 
melancholly-inspiring fly which so solemnly buzzes about in the spring is now 
hovering around my head with its lonely mournful ditty. Oh its sound enfuses the 
very soul of melancholly. It makes me think of home. It reminds me of all the 
transactions of my youthful days. I cannot repress my feeling & have therefore 
commenced writing again to my Dear absent Father. I have waited three mails 
with great impatience to receive the promised letter from Lucy, but I have 
waited in vain. None has yet arrived, nor any papers of late. I believe I shall 
make the regulation hereafter never to write you a letter but in answer to one 
from home. I can then determine whether you are as solicitous to hear from me 
in this far distant land as I am from you. 

This is the last day of the month. Six weeks longer will close the present 
Session, when I shall have another respite of five weeks. Mr. Spooner will visit 
me next vacation. He is now practicing Law. I had a letter from him yesterday. I 
have some idea of buying a horse. I dont want to ride much, but I am rather too 
dependent without one. A middling good horse will cost me seventy or eighty 
dollars, and saddle, bridle & spurs enough more to make up a hundred dollars, 
but it will not be a sacrifice of so much. The property will diminish but little in its 
value by keeping. Mr. Crawford advised me the other day to purchase one & said 
he would keep him for me upon free cost, but I am not certain that I shall. 
Daddy wants money & Tim wants money & I shall take more pleasure in assisting 
them than adding to my own convenience. 

I had some idea of proposing to Mama to make me some cloth for a coat next 



PART I: 1808-1829 51 

summer & have it sent to Boston from whence it can easily be conveyed around to 
me by water. I want to let the people know here what good cloth you can make in 
N England. It would be much cheaper than to pay ten or twelve dollars a yard 
for it here & I presume nearly as handsome. But I suppose ma'am has as much as 
she can do yet to make cloth for her children at home & it would be adding to her 
trouble & labor, which I fear is too great for her health and constitution at 
present. If the girls want some money & feel disposed to make me enough for a 
suit next summer I will reward them for it handsomely. 

2 o'clock. I have had my door yard cleaned out today. I am agoing to set some 
Lombardy poplars in it this evening. There are seven shade trees now but not 
enough. I am agoing to sow some grass seed in it, too. The grass is not quite thick 
enough at present. I have been reading to day history & M'Laurin's essays' on the 
prejudices against the Gospel. I never want to read more than an hour or two 
upon one subject before I relieve my mind by writing, or thinking, or reading 
some occasional Essay. My memory is treacherous & if I read too much at once, I 
forget all. 

March 5th. This week's mail brought no letter from home. It brought me one 
from Tim. and one from Whiting and one newspaper from home. Tim seems to 
be rather unfortunate in sickness. He says he has had a very sore finger. He seems 
very solicitous to commence business for himself next spring. His dependence is 
upon me for assistance & I am very willing to aid him ; I wish to do as much as I 
can for him at his first start. Would it be as convenient for you to receive two 
hundred dollars in the fall? Or, one this Spring and another in the fall? If so, I 
could make better arrangements to supply his wants. But, Sir, I consider your 
claim first & it shall be answered first. 

I must finish my letter, for you will think me sick or dead if you do not hear 
from me soon. I have not time to speak upon the particulars on which you 
requested information. My letters are generally so long you will not scold if I 
cut this short. So, Dear Sir, once more adieu — 

Elijah 

March 20th, 1812 

As to polliticks as Dady has mentioned in his writing for marm, she is much 
more engaged than he is.' She is a Staunch Federal. Her health is good, her 
Spirits is Equal or Superior to what they ever were. She thinks it too Degradeing 
to have him [Stephen? ] Study with Mr Gowen &be in Cavendish with Jes 
Spauldings Family. You wont fail in writing as we have written in 1 2 hours after 
receiveing yr letter. 

^ John Maclaurin (1693— 1754), a Scottish Presbyterian divine, was a famous preacher In his day. Collec- 
tions of his essays and sermons were posthumously published in 1755 and In a number of subsequent editions, 
as late as i860 (Dictionary of National Biography [New York, 1909], XII, 642). ^ This letter was 

apparently forwarded to another member of the family, with this note added by one of the sisters or brothers 
still at home. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 52 

New Glasgow 
April 24th, 1 81 2 
Dear Sir, 

Yours of the 6th instant came yesterday. It always gives me pleasure to hear 
from you, the greatest pleasure I can experience. Altho' you seemed to write in an 
hour of gloom and despondency, your letter communicated pleasure as well as 
melancholly. Oh yes. Dear Sir, it was severely painful to me to think I had done 
any thing to augment the grief & sorrow of the kindest father. If I had done it 
intintionally I could not think of excusing myself, much less of your forgiving 
me. I wish sometimes I had no lips to speak with, no hand to write with, 
especially when an imprudent use of them injures a friend, but these are gifts I 
ought by prudence to make a blessing & not a curse. I never told N.P.F. a syllable 
of paying money to you. The first hundred dollars, according to your direction, I 
enclosed to him. From that and the suspicious appearance of the last letter 
enclosing money, he may have conjectured something & made the reports. I did, 
I believe, in an unthinking moment speak of it to Grandmaam How, in the only 
letter I have ever written her since I have been in the State. But I must cease 
writing. When I write I wish to correspond with a friend to whom I can unbosom 
the very feelings of my heart. My acquaintance with mankind teaches me I can 
do this to but few; I hope I can do it with my brothers and sisters. I know I can 
do it to my parents with safety. You certainly mistake me if you think I have 
"boasted.'* No, I have every cause to show gratitude rather than boast of my own 
doings. Do you not believe the feelings I have expressed to you heretofore? I 
trust in God the day will come — if it be not till the day when I am no more — that 
the purity of my motives will not be questioned, that my affection and friendship 
for my family will not be doubted. No one but myself knows what I have 
experienced, no one knows what I have undergone, for the credit & for happiness 
of my parents & family. To aid and assist them has been my only wish ; to see 
them prosperous and happy is the only way I can be happy myself. I hope my 
youthful imprudencies will depart as my years ripen. I hope I shall learn wisdom 
& philosophy to direct my wayward steps through this vale of tears. I am not 
always happy; I am sometimes in darkness & doubt & difficulty. I have no one 
then to comfort me, no one to participate or assuage my sorrow. Yes, I have 
comforters in these hours — I have my Bible, I have Seneca, which I peruse daily 
& with pleasure and attention. 

This day has been the Election of representatives for this county. I rode up to 
the Court house about 1 2 o'clock and staid two or three hours.^ The Election was 
said to be conducted more regularly than common. There were but three 
candidates offered their service, two of which is the number each county is 
entitled to. Soon after I got there, one of the candidates mounted the rostrum & 
harangued the people, endeavouring to clear up some objections that had been 
brought against him & prove to the people that he was best caple serving them. 



PART I: 1808-1829 53 

After he had concluded, another one came on & spoke against the first, accused 
him of wanting independence & talents &c.&c. and that he was the better man. 
The third said nothing. The multitude then went into the court house to give in 
their votes. The high sherif presides. Voting is not b)' ballot but by viva voce or 
word of mouth. Every man comes up & tells the sherif whom he votes for. The 
sherif proclaims it with a loud voice & the clerk records it. The candidates sit near 
& each thank the voter as he is voted for. This is not the only electioneering. The 
Candidates ride about the County four or five weeks before Election to court the 
favor of the people. There was a great deal bustle & noise & treating & some 
fighting, tho not so much as in many Counties. The people in this county are 
more civilized than common in this State, but fighting is no uncommon thing 
here. The Federal party is not strong in this county tho' some of the most 
respectable men are attached to it. The people are generally approving the 
conduct of the present administration.' They confidently expect war and are 
willing to aid in carr)'ing it. 

The Session of the Academy closed last week. A board of Trustees & a 
concourse of people attended the examination. The Students acquitted 
themselves with honor. The number has increased a third since I came here about 
a year ago. There is but one thing which will hinder the growth of the Institution 
& that is want of unanimity among the Trustees. They have been unhappily 
divided & if they continue so it will injure the prospects of the Institution. 

I stay at home this vacation. I may ride out in the neighborhood a little but 
shall confine myself much to my own habitation. The husbandman's prospects for 
crops are flattering. Corn is now coming up, fruit trees have been very full in 
bloom. The Staple commodity of this country — Tobacco — has been of dull sale 
for a long while and now, since the embargo, brings nothing. I have bought no 
horse & shall not without I can obtain one to good advantage. I cannot 
communicate all my feelings. Oh, I wish I could see you. I hope you will not be 
downhearted. To be sure, you have a thousand things to trouble & perplex & so 
we all have. This world seems a state of trial & tribulation ; there is scarce any 
thing like happiness in it. I would be happy to know what portion you give 
Fanny at her leaving you & whether her future situation will be comfortable & 
agreeable. You must loose Jesse likewise. Be it so. You will be better without him 
than with him while he is discontented. I hope you will be more fortunate in 
choosing one of my younger brothers to live with you. 

I am now here all alone, not a living soul about me. The students have all 
dispersed to their several homes this vacation. The vacation will continue four 
weeks longer & I have nothing to do but study. I have been purchasing me eleven 
dollars worth summer cloathes today of a Pedlar, who called upon me: two 
waistcoats, two shirts, two neck handkerchiefs, a pocket handkerchief silk, cloth 
for coat & pantaloons &c. &'c. My cloathing cost me a great deal money & I 
am not very extra vagent. The Gentleman who spoke to me about getting a 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 54 

clothier has made yet no arrangements; I have therefore deferred 
communicating the prospects. It will certainly be good business for any man here 
as he could not fail success. The gentleman who spoke to me about it does not live 
in this county 5 I [have] written to him about it but have not seen him since I 
wrote you. An establishment here would be no more expensive than with you, so 
the iron works & colours could be easily transported by water. I wrote to Mich, at 
Brensville sometime ago, but Tim says he has heard of his going to another place. 
He seems desirous directing his own steps rather than being advised or guided by 
us. 

I receive the papers very regularly. They are a great source of pleasure to me. 
I expect your ground is yet hardly bare. The weather is here very pleasant & 
delightful, tho this month has not been so agreeable as the last. It is very healthy. 
There has not been a white person, except two of [very? ] old constitution, 
disease [d] since I came here. I hope my health may continue, for my all depends 
upon it. I dont know that I understood all your letter. You say "There is one 
thing more — you need not expect they escape my notice." I thank you most 
sincerely to speak to me with freedom & as to a child, for I am yet nothing more. 
Reproof, council and advise coming from a father enter deep in my heart. 

Once more farewell ! Dearest of parents. May you all be as happy as this frail 
state of mortality will permit, is the fervent prayer of your dutiful Son, 

Elijah 

^ Amherst Court House, as the village was usually called, is about five miles south of Clifford (New 
Glasgow). ^ President Madison had just begun his second term. 

New Glasgow 
May 15th, 1 812 
Dear Sir, 

I have once more sat down to let you know Elijah is still in the land of the 
living, enjoying tolerably health &c &c. Your last letter arrived in about twelve 
days from home. Some are twenty days coming and some more. The 
Washingtonian, with your request to the Postmasters, came by the last mail, and 
a letter from Whiting. Mr Walker mentioned visiting you so that he was pleased 
with the reception he met with in the family. He is a very sensible friendly man & 
has a very amiable wife & family. Lucy will be treated with all the politeness & 
kind attention she can wish for. Mr. Walker will treat her as he would his own 
child and advise & help her in her employment. He is one of the most generous- 
hearted, benevolent men I knew of, lives in very genteel style & altho' the people 
in the district are not very polished, they are wealthy, kind, & pay the greatest 
attention & respect to their instructers. Lucy will meet with no difficulty. The 
scholars in the district are the most regular, orderly, innocent, virtuous children I 
was ever acquainted with ; I write you this that you nor ma'am need not worry 



PART I: 1808-1S29 55 

about her in her absense. The vacation is about closed. Next week I resume my 
labors again. I shall do it with spirit and ambition. I have made a few new 
arrangements with the Students. I leave no exertion untried for their 
advancement & for my credit. I flatter myself that I am doing well. 

This is for Maam: I have rode about very little this vacation, not so much as I 
expected to, consequently have had more time to study. I shall next session have 
a few female students to instruct in French — Mr Garlands, Mr. Crawfords, & Dr 
Browns daughters. They will come to my habitation & take private lessons. 

Our Spring has been more cold, rainy & backward than common. Green pees 
are fit to eat, cherries & strawberries are ripe. I have myself been too lazy to 
cultivate a garden. I have fixed out my door yard handsomely, set out some rose 
bushes right under my window, & planted some vines which will run up on my 
house and make a little canopy over my window. The room I live in is at the 
south east corner of the house. The table I study and write upon sits at about the 
same place your old desk does, against the east window. This day is rainy cold & 
wet, so much so I have a fire. 

I have bought me a ticket this week in a lottery where there are two fifty- 
thousand-dollar prizes, so if I draw one of these great prizes I shall be able to 
come and see you. It cost ten dollars; one of the Miss Crawfords pay half and go 
my halves in it. I have to give fifteen dollars for my washing and mending a year. 
I generally make some of the girls hem my handkerchiefs &c. and they do such 
things very willingly for me. The making of my shirts costs a dollar a piece. My 
other cloathes are made by a man tayler and they cost way high. If you think you 
will be able to make the cloth I spoke about, you will have it the same color you 
generally made my coats. It will be best to fold it up & have it put in a little box 
just big enough to hold it & send it to Pollard Patten at Boston. I have written to 
him what to do with it. If Fanny is gone & Lucy, I am afraid you will hardly 
have time, you will have nobody but Laura to help you. But you have got rid of 
many the boys & you will not have so many clothes to make as when I was at 
home. The family has scattered very much within three years. Mich. I have heard 
nothing about of late ; I hope he is as happy as any of us. 

This is for Laura: Lorana, if I do not break my neck and am not sick, I will 
try to help you to the money you spoke of in your letter. I shall not be able to 
do it till next fall. If you wish to go to school before that time, you must ask 
daddy to borrow it for you till I can pay it. It is nothing but pleasure for me to 
help you when I am able, especially to assist you in learning is much more 
agreeable than to help you any other way. I have written to Lucy today, 
supposing her to be before this at Whiting. If she stays there five months, she 
will have a pretty sum of money for her wages. Stephen then is in Cavendish. It 
is just as well as tho he was at an Academy, if Mr. Gowen is a good teacher. It 
matters not where and how we get our education ; the main point is to have it. If 
you think of going away to study to an Academy, you must be studying some 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 56 

before you go and not forget what you learnt last winter. I am going to teach five 
of the young Ladies French this summer. I don't like it much, for I shall have to 
scold & look cross at them I expect. I suppose you have no prospects of getting 
married if you think of going to school. Have you a good many spruce young 
bucks now in the neighborhood or are they as scarce as ever? I suppose Windsor 
and Wenks and all the boys of their size have turned out gallants by this time. 
You must give my complemints to Miss Lewis and all who are so kind as to 
enquire for me. Have you heard any thing from Mich's wife lately.'' If you have, 
let me know it. Now Lucy is gone, I shall expect you will write me & tell me all 
the news of the family & neighborhood. 

I can't write you any more now, so fare you well all. Live peaceably & happily. 
Give my best love to Jess' wife & tell her I will own her as a sister. I believe I 
shall write to Fanny or Dr. Bliss^ very soon. Good by. 

Your Brother Elijah 
[To Jesse:] 

I hope I shall be able to send you a hundred dollars in the next letter. I am 
afraid I shall have more difficulty than ever in getting the bills exchanged, for I 
have no body in Philidelphia I can trust to now. I must ask around and do as well 
as I can. People make very little noise about politicks here at present. Party spirit 
is not very high. War is expected. They cannot sell their Tobacco & other crops 
but they are very patient. 

Farewell ! Dear Sir, that you may continue in health and happiness is the 
sincere wish of your affectionate son, 

Elijah 

^ Fanny married Dr. Calvin Bliss, Mar. 12, 1812. They apparently moved to Chester, Vt., in September. 
He died the next year (J. H. Bliss, The Genealogy of the Bliss Family of America [Boston, 1881], p. 139). 

New Glasgow, Virginia 
[July 4,1812] 
Dear Sir, 

This is the 4th of July, two years since I mounted that little bay mare and left 
the house of my Father. I cannot reflect on that time but with mingled emotions, 
I never shall. The anniversary of that day will always bring to mind the 
disagreeable sensations of parting friends. It is very much such a day as that when 
I left you. It is warm, sometimes cloudy, and looks like showers. I am not 
altogether so well today as usual. I have something of a dizzy head-ach, which 
you recollect I was when at home occasionally troubled with. I attribute it to my 
eating apples and pears yesterday. I have not lost my appetite ; I ate a very 
hearty breakfast this morning. We have had very little warm weather here yet. 
This, I think, is about as warm as any day we have had. Tho' harvesting was 
begun sometime ago, people are not through with it yet. I can now hear the 



PART I: 1808-1829 57 

negroes cradelling songs. A long string of them in Mr Garlands field are 
cradelling and keeping stroke with the tune. They seem joyful and happy. They 
are always pleased with the return of harvest, for then they get whisky to drink. 
The crops of wheat are said to be very excellent and other crops promising. I 
expect you have hardly commenced haying yet. Do you intend making Stephen 
leave his studies to help you? Is Calvin yet man enough to mow? 

Friday lOth July. I will finish this and send it by this days mail, for it is 
sometime since I wrote you and a long time since I have received a letter from 
you. The newspapers come very regular at present with something upon them 
that pleases me mightily, as the Virginians [say] . I wrote to Stephen a little 
while ago. I think Stephen is doing well j as long as he can learn in his present 
situation, I would let him stay in it. I would not think having him enter College 
next Commencement. He will study as profitably the first year with a private 
instructor (if he [is] capable) as at College. Pride ought not to influence but 
interest. I will talk more about this subject when you communicate your own 
views. 

It is now time of war;' money will be more scarce than at present. I have not 
sent you any yet but you need not despair. You shall have it as soon as I can 
prepare it for you. I have not any one either in Alexandria or Philedelphia at 
present there I dare trust, but shall have soon. I presume you do not want money 
more than I want to send it. I fear you will have troublesome times during the 
wars. People here look upon it with much more composur, I presume, than you 
do. We shall be far distant from its ravages while you will be in front of battle. 
There is not much party spirit here, the great part willing to support [the] 
administration. I see there are wonderful changes taking place in the New 
England States. Your Election soon comes on. Will the Federalists struggle for 
triumph? 

I heard some very melancholly news last evening: the death of my 
countryman, Capt. Varnum, Gen. Varnum's son of Dracut, whom I have before 
spoken to you about. He left home about ten or eleven years ago. He had become 
very respectable — representative from his county"- — and much beloved. He was 
extraordinary healthy till ten days ago, but, poor fellow! he entered the borders 
of eternity yesterday. He was a single man, has left six or seven thousand dollars 
that he has acquired since he has been here. He lived thirteen or fourteen miles 
from me. Do not let this melancholly story frighten you or make you fear that it 
is sickly and I may soon be grim death's victim. I do not feel as tho I was out of 
danger ; no ! when I see others as promising and healthy as myself descending to 
the silent tombs, I wonder why it was not myself. I consider it is a favor of the 
almighty that I am in mercy spared. It is not very sickly in this neighborhood. 

I had a letter from Lucy last week. I expect Tim. has visited you by this time. I 
have written a short letter to Nathan this week upon politics and the farming 
business of this State. I have taken your advise to write nothing about myself or 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 58 

family but to my dear parents. Oh, how much happiness I wish you and maam — 
more than I fear you enjoy. Happiness is not an inhabitant of this earth, I have 
by short experience learnt. Did not maam tell me I must come back in two years, 
and two years are past and I am still far from home ! Ah, when the hour of my 
return will arrive, God only knows. 

Farewell! Dear Father and mother. My love to all the children. I remember 
how you all looked two years ago, but I suppose there are great alterations since. 
Once more adieu! 

Elijah 

^ War was declared against England on June I 8, 1812, two days after the British blockade was lifted, but 
before that news had reached Washington. " George W. Varnum was a representative from Nelson 

County in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1810— II (A RegisUT of the General Assetnbly of Virginia, 
1776— 1918 [Richmond, 1918], p. 440). 

[August 1812] 
Elijah F. to his dear parents: 

I had the great pleasure of receiving your letter of the 3 1 st July today. What 
brings greater joy than to hear from those I love so much.'' Let the tidings be 
agreeable or not, I am interested in hearing them. Shall I ever forget my dearest 
parents tho' absent or tho' far from them.? Shall I not always be more pleased to 
hear from them than any one else.? To be sure, little know we what changes time 
will make, but it seems as tho' you will never cease to be my parents and I hope 
in God I shall never cease being your dutiful Son. 

Dear Sir, you despair too soon receiving aid from one who has been ever more 
willing than able. A circumstance unforseen and not to be prevented has caused 
the delay. You say I am not communicative enough, or rather evasive. Perhaps I 
have been. In the multitude of news I have to communicate, I may have omitted 
many things. But why should I keep any thing secret from those so interested in 
my welfare as dear parents.? I will tell you any thing you wish me to. I have sent 
on some money to Tim. He seemed to be so importunate and had made such 
engagement that I thought you could do a while better without it than he could. 
It reached Albany soon after he left it for Vermont. Calvin Boynton took out the 
letter as Tim had directed and wrote me immediately acknowledging the receipt. 
I dont think I shall send any on to you till the end of this Session, which will be 
in about six weeks, the fifteenth of October. You say war does not affect the 
planters in Virginia, but you mistake. Money is scarce. It commands 30 per cent 
and for men that have money, there is a fine chance for speculation. You wish to 
know my salary. It amounted to nine hundred dollars the first year. After 
deducting my expenses, about six hundred remained. 

My expenses have been more than ordinary this summer. I had the misfortune 
about the beginning of this Session to fall from a horse and hurt one of my legs. 
You must not blame me for not telling you of it. I knew it was not dangerous and 



PART I: 1808-1829 59 

it would give you and ma'am great uneasiness, so I thought I would not tell you 
of it till I got most well. I wrote to Lucy about it immediately, but I will never 
keep any thing even of that nature from you hereafter, for I icnow your anxiety. 
It has rendered me incapable of business, tho I have felt as hearty and well as 
ever except the pain. It is now about well but I shant do much this Session. It was 
rather a piece of carelessness in me in being thrown from my horse. It will learn 
me caution hereafter. The most that grieved me was the necessity of disappoint- 
ing you, but it will not be so any more. I will yet fulfil my promises. Perhaps 
I shall send the money on to Tim and get him to discount it at Albany, which 
can be done at 3 per cent. If I do not have any better opportunity I shall do 
this. It will be safe if there be a little less. I will in my next letter tell you more 
particularly about my expenses. Drs fees here is most enormously high. 

I calculate next week to ride out to the Springs about twenty miles from this.' A 
great many people from town have gone and are going, some for health and 
some for pleasure. I shall not stay more than a week or ten days. Then I shall 
return and commence my business again, which very much wants my attention. 

You wish me to enquire for Dr Briggs and brother. Williamsburg is two 
hundred miles east of this and I have as yet no correspondence or communication 
with it. If I chance to have, I will make some enquiries. Some of my students are 
from the City of Richmond, about a 120 East, but none so low down as 
Williamsburg. Mr Spooner wrote me by the last mail. He is practicing law and 
doing well. He has never been to see me yet. He promised in his last letter to 
come in October. He writes to me often. You ask who are my friends? I can 
hardly answer this question. There are a great many who pretend it and whom I 
rely upon. But there is very little disinterested friendship in this world. I 
endeavor to retain the esteem and respect of all and I am treated with great 
politeness. Some of your questions I will answer fully in my next letter, for I 
shall not have room to do it here. I shall write you once more before I send the 
money. Today is our national fast;^ few religiously observe it here. 

Farewell, Dear [Father? ] Farewell, Dear ma'am. I pray you may enjoy 
all the happiness this world can [bestow? ] . Your Son, 

Elijah 

^This was probably Buffalo Springs, once a popular resort near Forks of Buffalo on the eastern slope of 
the Blue Ridge, a little less than 20 miles from New Glasgow. "These waters are chalybeate, and attract a 
good deal of company in summer" (Martin, op. cit., p. 129). ^ Aug. 16, Battle of Bennington Day, is a 

legal holiday in Vermont. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 60 

To Laura Fletcher 

New Glasgow 
August 1 6th, 1 812 
Dear Sister, 

I got your good letter in due time. I need not tell you how much I was pleased 
with it, how many times I read it, and that I have got it now in my coat pocket 
and shall carry it about me and read it even twenty times more. I will own I was 
mad at one or two sentences in it and warn you, now for all, never to write 
another like it on pain of displeasure. You will want to know what it is that has 
given such umbrage. I'll tell you dear Lorana: you say "perhaps I shall not be 
pleased to hear about the affairs of the family and that I would not like to pay 
25 cents for such a mess." This is what mads me, for it is all a confounded lie 
and [I] shall not forgive you if you do not write me another soon as long again 
as the last, and tell me every thing you know about each individual of the family 
and every neighborhood transaction. This is what I shall expect from you, now 
Lucy is gone and there is no one else to do it. 

It is Sunday, we have no meeting. I must devote a little while in writing. I 
want to tell you a great many things and ask you a great many questions. You say 
ma'am almost despairs ever seeing me again. Tell her she must not be 
discouraged, I shall certainly come home if I live. I want to see you all, but I 
believe I want to see ma'am the most. I hope you will do everything to make her 
situation comfortable and easy. I am sorry Jesse and his lady are not little more 
prudent. You cant think how it grieves me, that one of my Brothers should 
conduct so as to make home disagreeable to my Sisters. I must say I am little 
astonished daddy's partiality for him should extend so far. I want he should 
recompense him well for his services and give him as much as he does any of his 
children. But to keep him there while he and his connections are not only 
disagreeable to maam but to the younger children seems rather strange. Jesse 
has, to be sure, done well and deserves a recompense. But has he labored longer 
and more industriously than Fanny? I know it would be agreeable to daddy to 
have a son live with him and assist him in the management of his affairs, but it 
would be more agreeable that son was pleasing to the family in general. The idea 
of a son or daughter-in-law directing the affairs of the family, telling maam what 
she ought to do, where she ought to extend her favors and where not, I can 
hardly bear. I believe I should quarrel as much as Stephen. I hoped no such thing 
would ever happen in our family. But I hope you will live as peaceable with her 
as possible while she stays with [you] . Treat her with as much politeness as you 
can. Although, as you say, this is a disagreeable subject, I want you to tell me all 
about it. I am as much interested in hearing the bad as good news, tho' one gives 
me pleasure and the other pain. 

I have heard nothing from Michael since you have. I doubt not but he is alive 
and well. He is truly singular in his conduct and always has been. Perhaps he 



PART I: 1808-1829 61 

does not mean we should hear from him till he can tell us some good news about 
himself. I hope ma'am will not grieve too much about him, for it will do no 
good; we cannot alter his situation. I have wrote to him a good many times and 
made him a great many offers but he does not seem disposed to have any thing to 
do with me. 

I do not know but it will be advisable to defer going to school till next spring 
or summer. You can very profitably employ your time one winter more in a 
common school and the spring or summer is a better season to go than the fall. 
You must read some and learn to spell. I am glad to hear you are doing well in 
your little school. I was some surprised, I will assure you, to hear you had got to 
teaching school. I can't think of you as you are, but think of you as you were when 
I left you. I suppose you look quite different from what you did then, and that all 
other things are much changed. I have received a letter from Timo. since he 
returned. He says he found things much altered and was glad to get back again to 
Albany. 

When my dear ma'am gets the cloth done, she will send it to Pollard Patten, 
Boston. I intend to make a wedding coat of it if I shall stand in need of one 
shortly. Tell maam if I am married before I return, I will wear that coat my 
wedding day. Ask her if she rather see me come home with a wife than come 
alone? I believe I am quite a favorite of the ladies about here. They are very kind 
to me and send me a good many presents. One sent me a while ago three or four 
pound of cheese (which is great rarity in this country), to eat for baiting. Another 
Lady gave me a very fine Prayer Book. Last week a young Lady sent me a pair 
cotton stockings as a present, which she had knit with her own hands. Yesterday I 
had a piece of what you call pound cake sent me, and the girls when they come to 
recite bring me fruit sometimes, with the first letters of their names marked upon 
them &C.&C. So you must not think me vain if I conclude that I am pretty well 
esteemed. Two of the Students have just brought me in a couple fine 
watermellons ; I wish, dear Sister, you was with me to eat a piece. I have not seen 
any ripe ones before to day. 

There was a little disturbance broke out among the students last week. Two of 
them got to fighting and I was sent for to part them. They left off as soon as I 
came. We suspended them both, but they have become so humble and submissive 
I shall soon have them both restored to their former standing. They say they will 
undergo any punishment if I will let them come back again. You dont have much 
trouble, you say, with your little chickens — I am glad to hear it. We had a 
Congregational minister from Connecticut preach here Sunday before last. He 
had been in Vermont and most all the New England States. I had a great deal 
pleasure in his company. I enjoy myself very well at present. I shall not send this 
letter till next Friday. I will not write any more now, for I shall think of some 
thing more I shall wish to communicate before that time. 

I believe you said, daddy was quite low spirited. I know there are troubles 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 62 

enough in this wicked world and he has his share and more than his share, if 
rewards and punishments were distributed according to merit. I lament that 
unexpected circumstances has delayed for a little while assisting him. I am 
confident it will be now but a little while before I grant him the aid I promised. 
Give my compliments to Miss Lewis and assure her I shall be happy to hear from 
her. Daddy has not written me for a long while, except what he writes upon the 
papers. The last told about Louisa's falling into the river. 

August 20th, Thursday night. 

I will now close my letter. I have received a letter from daddy since I wrote 
the above. I wrote a letter to Sister Fanny some time ago ; she has probably 
received it before this. Today is fast but I have not entirely abstained from food, 
but I have kept something of a Spiritual fast. In my next letter I shall tell you 
when I am coming home. I hope it will not be many years. 

Farewell, Laura, I want to say a great many things more but my mind is so 
confused I can only say adieu. Remember me to all friends. Live and live happily. 

Your Brother, 
Elijah 



New Glasgow 
Oct. 2nd, 1812 

Once more, Dear Sir, I have sat down to communicate a few feelings, thoughts 
and sentiments. I do not know that I feel in a mood to write to any one but my 
Dear Father, but the thought of communicating with him is always sufficiently 
animating and would inspire me with writing faculties were I in ever so dull a 
humor. I did not remain at the Springs so long as I anticipated. I do not know 
that the water benefitted me, but the change of the scene and exercise of the ride 
has very much re-animated me. 

It has now become fall. The last time I wrote you, I believe, was summer. So 
passeth away the days and months and seasons, almost imperceptibly. The 
weather is cool and pleasant. The present Session is most at a close. The 1 5th of 
October terminates [it]. After the usual vacation of a month I shall be able, I 
hope, to recommence instruction with redoubled vigor. I feel as well as ever and 
it gives me as much satisfaction as I presume it will you to hear of it. I had almost 
determined not to write you again till the close of the present Session, but I was 
afraid you would be worried about me. I have not heard from Tim. for a long 
while, nor from home since you wrote me. Stephen says he has entered College;^ 
I am glad to hear it. I expected Mr. Gowen was a man of talents or I should not 
have recommended his continuance with him. Lucy, I expect, is at home by this 
time, helping ma'am. 



PART I: 1808-1829 63 

You will not be able to send the cloth ma'am was making, for they say Boston 
port is blockaded and Rodger's in it j" and even if that was not so, I suppose it 
would be dangerous sending goods around by water while the British are 
hovering upon our coast. You must take it. Sir, and make yourself a coat, or 
Stephen one. I will buy me one which will cost about twenty dollars and not be 
better than maam can make. All goods are very scarce at present and very dear, 
and probably will be during the continuance of the war. How long that will be, 
God only knows. If our rulers are determined to persist in it and have no better 
success than thus far, I fear it will only terminate with the ruin of our Country. 
Hull is called nothing but a traitor here, no one attributes his conduct to 
cowardice.' My Students were so much incensed at his conduct, they tarred and 
feathered and burnt him in effigy. Very unfavorable rumors are now afloat, that 
Dearborne is arrested as a traitor,'' that Sag Harbor with all our stores are taken. 
But this is an age of lying and we know not what to depend upon from rumor. 

The Federalists of this State seem to be very much aroused. They have had a 
late convention to consult about the next Presidential Election. It is said they 
have nominated Rufus King of N.Y. for President^ and Gen. Davey of South 
Carolina for Vice President.^ I have had some account from Vt. since the Election 
and was much disappointed at its issue. John Randolph has begun to electioneer 
for his next seat in Congress. He has a very powerful competition, John W. 
Eppes, who was in Congress winter before last.' Which will succeed is doubtful, 
[three lines scratched out] did last fall to Philadelphia. He starts in three weeks. 
I will endeavor to give a statement in my next of what money I have, and what 
I have spent. 

I wish Stephen to go on as rapidly as possible; as soon as he is capable of taking 
my place, I will come home and visit you. Perhaps I shall before. If I could 
travel there and back in five or six weeks, I would lengthen my vacation and 
come at the end of another year. Then my time would be too short to stay with 
you. My impatience to see you is great but while I hear your prosperity, I shall be 
more contented. You must be punctual in giving me all the news while fate 
separates us. Tell ma'am not to despair, that I live in hopes the happy day will 
yet arrive when we meet again. 

A good many of the Virginians have gone on to Canada, some from this 
neighborhood. Their situation is worse than mine. They have not only sickness 
and disease to contend with but the bullets of an enemy. The best alleviation 
when we consider our situation bad is to contrast it with that of thousands of our 
fellow creatures worse. 

Farewell, Dear Sir, for this time. May Heavens choicest blessings be yours and 
all my Dear relatives. 

Yours affectionately till death, 
Elijah 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 64 

Lucy, tell me what you have done with Mr. Horton; Uncle Otis and Aunt 
Eunice have been telling me something about it? 

'Letters from Stephen to his father, dated Sept. 25, 1812, and Apr. 11, 1813, show he was then attending 
Middlebury College. ^Commodore John Rodgers (1773— 1838) was in charge of U.S. Naval operations 

chiefly north of New York in the War of I 8 12. Three days after he learned of the declaration of war, he met 
the British frigate Belvidere, but she escaped his far-ranging pursuit. Rodgers returned to Boston Aug. 31 
and sailed again Oct. 8 (^Encyclopedia Britannka, nth ed. [New York, 1911], XXIII, 848). ^William 

Hull (1753—1825) was commissioned a brigadier-general in the spring of 1812. Faulty strategy and other 
factors resulted in his surrender at Detroit in Aug. of that year. Tried by a court martial on charges of 
treason, cowardice, and neglect of duty, he was found guilty on the last two counts and was sentenced to 
be shot. President Madison remanded the sentence {D.A.B.y IX, 363—64). ^ Henry Dearborn (1751— 

1829) was made the senior major-general of the U.S. army in Jan. 1812 and ordered to take command of 
the sector from the Niagara River to the New England coast. His failure to make preparations to attack the 
British at any point east of Detroit contributed to Hull's subsequent surrender, and was followed by the 
Americans' defeat at Qucenston in October (D.A.B., V, 174—76). 'A strong Federalist, Rufus King 

(1755—1827) was the party's candidate for vice-president in 1804 and 1808, with Charles C. Pinckney of 
South Carolina as presidential nominee {D.A.B., X, 398—400). ^ This was probably William Richardson 

Davie (1756—1820), Revolutionary officer and for many years a leading statesman in North Carolina, founder 
of its university, and governor of the state; he had by this time retired to his farm in South Carolina 
(D.A.B., V, 98—99). '^ Eppes was elected, served in Congress two years (1813—15), and was succeeded 

by John Randolph. 



November 6th, 1 8 1 2 
Dear Sir, 

The misery I experienced at receiving your last and the happiness I have since 
felt on hearing the recovery of my Brother were great. I have again renewed my 
hope of seeing you all in the land of the living. I spent this vacation all at home, 
except the last four days I have been up on the mountains. The vacation continues 
one week more, then I resume my labers. I sent on yesterday a hundred dollars 
by Dr. Cobbs^ to Philidelphia, where he will get it changed and forward it. He 
said he should remain in the city of Washington about a week on the way, so you 
will not receive it quite so soon. He will arrive at Philadelphia in twelve days, so 
you can make calculations when the money will reach you. I have delayed long 
sending it but it goes freely, now I have an opportunity. 

I think I never told you in what Latitude and Longitude this place is in — 37^° 
north latitude, 3^2 west longitude from Philadelphia, within 30 miles of the Blue 
ridge, on the chain of the Allegany. Some spurs and branches of the Allegany 
come much nearer ; where I have been this week was very mountainous. The land 
rich but uneven. I walked one day with Parson Crawford" and some other 
gentlemen upon a mountain called the Tobacco row.^ From the bottom the ascent 
was two miles. We carried our guns, a bottle of Whiskey and some baiting. The 
ascent was gradual but steep. We killed some grey squirrels and saw some wild 
turkeys and picked some chestnuts. We found a good spring upon the 
[mountain.? ] where we rested. I was so fatigued when I got home, I could 
hardly walk. I have not taken such a jaunt since I have been in Virginia before. 

I have written to you nothing about that Clothier of late. The gentleman who 



PART I: 1808-1829 65 

mentioned it to me and wished me to procure one has made no particular 
propositions. But if that young gentleman has a mind to come, I will set up a mill 
for him and advance money for the establishment and share with him the profits. 
I am very sensible one would do well here, for we have none j a carding machine 
is as much wanting. How much would the iron works and dye stuffs to commence 
with cost.' I suppose you have not sent that cloth around, as you have mentioned 
nothing about it. 

I have never yet heard anything from Michael. Sometimes I think he has gone 
in to the northern army. I expect when he left the upper part of New York he 
went towards Ohio. I do not feel so much concerned about him, for he told me he 
had some idea of going off and keeping his residence a secret till he could do 
better. I have heard nothing from Tim for a great while; I expect he was so 
much provoked that I did not send on his money sooner, he intends to have 
nothing more to do with me. It is a bad thing to make promises! 

About a year ago you hinted to me something concerning matrimonial 
connection. I thought little about it then, but now it has become a subject of 
serious thought. I want your advise and directions. I know you are a kind parent 
and will consult my happiness. I have long been intimate with a most amiable, 
accomplished, sensible Lady, of one the most rich, extensive, respectable families 
in the State. She is Cousin to the present Vice President, who moved from this 
place to Georgia some years ago.* The family is generally noted for their talents 
and respectability. Every thing is agreeable. I never have, & I am sensible I never 
lihall, meet with another so interesting. I know a connection of this kind is 
important, serious, and solemn. I have thought of it much and the only thing 
which could dissuade me would be the fear of more lasting separation from my 
parents, but it is impossible in the nature of things I can always be with you, 
whether single or married. I shall endeavor to visit )'0U as often in the one 
situation as the other, while I am doomed to live so far from you. It will be 
pleasant to me and comfortable to you to know I have a bosom friend and 
connections about who will feel an interest in my fate. It will be much for my 
worldly interest and I trust happiness, or other pleasure I hope to experience 
which I cannot if I remain single, to have a brother or sister come and live with 
me. I will educate them handsomely without the least expense to them or you. 
After the most mature deliberation, I am persuaded it will be to my advantage, 
to mv comfort, and to mv happiness. But, dear Sir, I refer it to you: judge for me, 
and altho you do not know the situation of affairs so well as myself, I will pay 
deference to your judgment. Consult with maam about [it.? ] . 

I have not time to write much more now for the mail soon starts. Write to me 
soon after you receive the money. It is a free gift ; use it for the benefit of 
yourself, maam, and my brothers and sisters. If Calvin continues weekly, you 
must let him come to Virginia. A change of climate will be beneficial. You must 
not complain of my not writing often. I should have written last week but Mr 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 66 

Spooner was with me all the time. We talked about you and his father and a 
thousand things more. Do you expect Stephen will keep school this winter or not? 
I shall write to John Grannis next [torn] . May you and maam and all be happy, 
is the prayer of your fond 

Son Elijah 

I will write a little more for the mail has not yet closed. Lucy says your 
political enemies persecute you; I am sorry to hear it. She upbraids me with some 
pretty hard names but I will not own them. In my letter next week I shall let 
them know my sentments, and if I am [illegible] not a Federalist, I assure you I 
shall be found no democrat. The last mail brought the bad news of Van 
Rensalier's defeat.^ Last Monday was our Election for Electers for President. 
We vote differently here from what you do, by general ticket, not by the 
Legislature. All will be Madisonian Electors in this State. Next Mondays mail 
will probably bring us the Presidents message. I expect it will be a budget of 
gloomy intelligence. Once more adieu! 

■^ Dr. John P. Cobbs married Jane Meredith Garland, daughter of David S. Garland, Dec. ii, 1812 
(Amherst County Register of Marriages, I, 233). As early as 1809 he owned several lots in the town of New 
Glasgow (Amherst County Deed Book, vol. L, 234). In 1814 he was a patron of Rose Mill, a short distance 
from New Glasgow, according to the account book for that year now In the Jones Memorial Library, 
Lynchburg; and he Is undoubtedly the young man, mentioned In Elijah's letter of Nov. 29, 1811, who had 
"gone to Philadelphia as a medical student." - This must have been Charles Crawford, a brother of 

William S. Crawford, who was born In Amherst County. He was ordained by Bishop Madison in 1789 and 
took charge of Lexington Parish, which Included New Glasgow. A document inserted In an old parish vestry 
book shows that his salary for the year beginning Jan. i, 1807, was 75 pounds. He "continued Its minister 
until 1815, when, from great corpulency, age, and infirmities, he resigned" (Meade, op. cit., II, 58—59). A first 
cousin, William Crawford, officiated at several churches in Amherst Parish, Nelson County, and St. Anne's 
Parish, Albemarle, from 1795 until late in 1812, when he moved to Louisa County (Mrs. F. A. Crawford 
Vanderbllt and Robert L. Crawford, Laurus Crazvfurdiana [New York, 1883], pp. 49—51). ^Tobacco 

Row, a spur of the Blue Ridge a few miles northwest of Lynchburg, rises to a 3000-foot crest, known locally 
as High Peak. This landmark is clearly visible from New Glasgow (Clifford), from Lynchburg, and from 
Sweet Briar. The Reverend Charles Crawford "Inherited 395 acres near Tobacco Row Mountain, but re- 
moved to Kentucky, where he died" at a date not recorded here (Vanderbilt, op. cit., p. 27). Crawford Gap 
is still shown on the northeast shoulder of High Peak on recent U.S. geological survey maps. * William 
Harris Crawford (1772-1834), a son of Joel and Fannie Harris Crawford, was born on his parents' Tye 
River farm, in what Is now Nelson County. The family later moved to South Carolina and then to Georgia, 
where William was elected to the Senate in 1807. Following the death of Vice-President George Clinton In 
Apr. 1812, Crawford was elected president pro tern of the Senate (D.A.B., IV, 527-29). ^Stephen Van 

Rensselaer (1764-1839). As a major-general In the New York militia, without active military experience, 
he was called on by Governor Tompkins to take command of the entire northern frontier of the state. With 
inadequate preparation and equipment, he attacked Queenston, on the Niagara River, on Oct. 13, 1812, and 
was compelled to surrender with the loss of nearly 1000 men {D.A.B., XIX, 211-12). 



To Lucy Fletcher 

[November 6, 1812] 
Dear Sister: 

Your kind letter came by the last mail. I always think the last the best. I thank 
you for your candor and frankness. It was sisterly conduct. Treat me as I do you. 
We will have no secrets between us. 

Your dilemma is great, you know pretty well my sentiments on such subjects. 



PART I: 1808-1829 67 

They are the same as you expressed. If I could give you advise, it would be just 
what you said you intended to do. Property is desirable. It adds to the comforts 
and conveniencies of life. But property alone cannot make us happy. The will of 
parents should be our rule of conduct as much as possible. We cannot perhaps 
sacrifice too much for their pleasure. But kind parents should be prudent and 
consistent in their demands, and not interpose too often (without we are very 
inconsiderate), to thwart our inclinations in choosing companions for life. I 
always did and always shall prefer a person of Education, taste, refinement, 
virtue, honesty and industry to an ignoramus with a long purse, well stuffed. A 
man that has an education and prospects in a profession to make money has 
already a fortune.^ 

Maria" says she fears your many admirers will make you a coquette. I saw her 
the evening after receiving your letter; I read a good deal of it to her. She wrote 
me a little note this morning. I shall go there this evening. We expect to be 
married the middle of next April. I shall give you all the particulars about it if 
you do not conclude "to mount that air balloon." You may tell me what visiters 
you had at Thanksgiving. I dont care how much neighborhood news you tell me, 
the more the better. A letter from Dr. Bliss came the same mail yours did. How 
is Laura this winter.'' Is she troubled any with sweet-hearts.' Tell her she must go 
to school this winter and learn all she can. Mr. Spooner fell in love with one of 
Maria's sisters when he visited me.' He writes very often. I shall employ the 
other side of this half sheet in writing to Stephen, so Farewell, Lucy. Perform 
your promise of writing me soon again. 

Your Brother 
Elijah 

^ Lucy married Dr. Richard P. Williams Feb. 22, 1816, and he started his practice in Bennington, Vt., 
that year. They moved to Newark, N.Y., about 1824 (Darwin Colvin, An Historical Sketch of the Wayne 
County Medical Society [1900], p. 18). " Maria, mentioned here by name for the first time, was born 

in 1792, the third of eleven children of William Sidney and Sophia Penn Crawford. ^ He later married 

Elizabeth Crawford. 



To Stephen Fletcher 

[November 6, 1812] 
Stephen, 

I have not yet answered the letter you wrote me from Middlebury. I will write 
you half an answer now, and the other half soon. You must always write what 
you are studying, what progress you make &c. Lucy says you calculate to study at 
home this winter. I am glad to hear it, if you can get along. The wages which 
Freshmen receive are very trifling, and you cant have too much time to study if 
you expect to make a great man. The catalogue has never reached me. You did 
not do it up well ; send another. You probably have one or two at home. What 
will you be studying this winter.' I have been reading today and for sometime 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 68 

back Thucidydes history of the Peleponnesian War and Voltairs Tragedies in the 
original. My scholars progress very well and conduct very peacably. They know 
pretty well my temper and disposition and conduct accordingly. 

Where is Cousin Isaac Parker now?' He wrote me a letter some time ago from 
Cavendish. If you see him, tell him as soon as I learn his place of residence I will 
answer it. It is a cold night. We have had no snow. I have seen the summits of the 
Blue ridge once or twice white. Are you a great Federalist.? Daddy and Lucy seem 
very warm and have been scolding at and slandering me at an awful rate lately. I 
have bid Cousin N[athan] a long farewell; at least have not answered his last 
and probably shall not do it. He has been very unhappy in his interpretation of 
my former epistles. Prithee, have you a good slay and horses to take an evenings 
ride in now? Ask Calvin and Miles if they have my hundred dolar horse 
growing. I shall want him soon. I have been trying of late to purchase one and 
shall as soon as I can find one that suits me. 

Now Brother S, Farewell ! mind your Books and live as happily as you can. I 
wish you in profusion 

Salus, honor et argentum, 
Atque bonwm afpeUtum. 

Elijah 

■^ Jesse Fletcher*s sister, Bridget, married Isaac Parker; the cousin mentioned here is doubtless their son. 
See Edward H. Fletcher, Fletcher Family History (Boston, 1881), pp. 125, 126. 



New Glasgow 
[December 4, 18 12] 
Dear Sir, 

Tho' not in answer to any letter, I have begun to write you again. However 
pleased I am to hear frequently from home and learn how affairs are going on 
with you, I dont know that I have reason to complain of dilatoriness when 
considering your situation. You have many children and many from home and 
many to write and a thousand other troubles and concerns which I am a stranger 
to. It would grieve me to the heart if I could for a moment suppose your affection 
diminished or that absence should make you unmindful of me. If the intervals 
between your writing be long, I shall attribute it to some more favorable and 
pleasant cause. While I myself so frequently reflect on the scenes left behind — 
of home, of my friends — it Is a pleasure rather than task to write. 

Towards the close of day I often think I will take a walk and think of home. 
Few pleasant evenings pass without my doing it. My walk is by the Academy 
towards the East where the road is lined both sides with trees and woods, out of 
[sight? ] and away from company. But these are not the only times my thoughts 
are employed about home. People frequently tell me when it is a little cold, that 



PART I: 1808-1829 69 

where I come from they suppose every thing is suffering with cold. I tell them 1 
can represent my Father and mother and all the family sitting by a good warm 
winter fire, drinking a mug of cyder and talking perhaps about — me. 

The papers come pretty regularly, the last spoke of your age being fifty. I set 
down your age and maams in my pocket book before I left home ; I wish I had 
the age of all my brothers & sisters. If it be not too much trouble, I wish you 
would send them to me. It is strange I have heard nothing from Tim since he 
went home last summer. When you write again, tell me of his situation and 
welfare. Stephen has written but once since last spring. 

Saturday night Dec. 4th. I am about. Dear Sir, to spend a few more moments in. 
your society. It is the coldest night we have yet had. But I have a good fire, my 
room is warm and, while the howling blasts furiously blow without, sit here 
comfortable — tho' lonesome. I have been reading all day, and am now tired of it. 
I had letters in abundance by the last northern mail: one from Brother Jesse, one 
from Stephen, one from Nathan, one from Spooner, and one from Philadelphia. 
I hope I shall receive one from you soon, acknowledging the receipt of a little 
money. When I first sent you money by mail from Alexandria I was much 
worried for fear it would be lost, but it has all arrived so safely, I do not feel so 
uneasy about transmitting it that way now. Tho' the last hundred I sent you is a 
free gift, you may think it more proper to consider it borrowed. But I am far 
from wishing it considered in that light. What I have sent you before was 
nothing but compensation for your trouble and exertions in procuring my 
education. That I wished for your own compensation, and as all the family were 
equally as solicitous for my welfare, I wish this to be distributed among them 
according to my following will and testament: 

To my Mother — the best I ever had, the best I shall have, the best I ever can 
have — I bequeath fifteen dollars for the purpose of purchasing a gold necklace, a 
ring of affection with E.F. marked on it, a pound of the best tea, and a bottle of 
good snuff. 

To my Sister Fanny, in consideration of the many kindnesses and much good 
will she always seemed to bear me — I will and bequeath seven dollars to 
appropriate to any purpose she pleaseth, but if it seemeth good, her affectionate 
Brother would like that she buy something to keep as a memento of him, tho' far 
away! 

To my Brother Jesse: Because I remember his friendship when I was in 
poverty, because I sometimes wore his breeches and sometimes boots 
and sometimes sourtout &c &c, because I have gotten his old portmanteau 
hanging up in mv closet and his old pocket book laying before me on my table, 
full of all mv old papers &c — I bequeath ten dollars, a small compensation for so 
many favors! 

To my Dear Sister Lucy, I give seven dollars to purchase a wedding gown if 
she marry a rich man, and a ring; but if she marry a poor, virtuous industrious. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 70 

[illegible] man, she must buy a set of silver tea Spoons; and if it so happen 
that she marrieth not at all, she may use it as seemeth meet. 

To my Brother Stephen : I assign ten dollars. I am ashamed I cannot give him 
more, for this scanty pittance will aid his exigencies but little. However, he shall 
moreover have added to it my many heartfelt wishes for his success in studies. He 
must buy him a Johnson's dictionary with it and read a chapter in the Greek 
testament into the bargain every morning — Johnsons large dictionary, with the 
pronunciation and derivation of words. 

To my good Sister Laura, I give fifteen dollars, not to purchase a wedding 
gown or silver spoons or any thing that pertaineth to the marriage state, but with 
hopes her kind Father will add as much more for the assistance in giving a 
quarters schooling. 

Now unto my Brother Calvin and Miles, I will five dollars each, to buy calves 
and raise stock. 

To my sister Louisa, 3 dollars to buy a new gown &c &c, and to Brother 
Stoughton, whom I hardly know, one dollar to buy a lamb. 

Lastly, unto my ever dear and respected Father, I will and bequeath twenty 
dollars, the remainder of the hundred, to his own benefit and behalf for ever. 
If he please he may buy a good watch and have E. F. inscribed on the back. 

This is without the common solemnities and you will execute it when you think 
proper. 

Wednesday night Dec. 9th. Your Thanksgiving is past. Week after next will 
be our Christmas. I shall have then a short vacation of a week or fortnight. We 
were mentioning today at table the pleasures of good company: one said he 
would not go long without his victuals for the best of company; the Doctor 
and I agreed we would willingly fast three days and three nights if we could be at 
home next Christmas. He has a mother. Brothers, and sisters yet in Scotland 
whom he has not seen for twenty years, a longer time, I trust, than I shall be 
absent from you. The Dr. is a great Federalist. He says he sympathizes with you 
much, that your State is so blinded and stiff necked. I have told him you were a 
very warm Federalist. 

I have no news to write ; I have made out a great long letter but I know it is 
not a very good one. I hope ma'am has had a pleasant ride to visit her friends in 
Westford.^ I wish you would buy me a Vermont Register and send me. Farewell! 
may heaven's choicest blessings be yours. 

Your Son, 
Elijah 

' Westford, Massachusetts, southwest of Lowell, was the birthplace of Lucy Keyes and of Jesse Fletcher. 
They were married there In 1782. 



PART I: 1S08-1829 71 

New Glasgow 
Feb. 7th, 1 8 13 

I wish you not to mind much about the letter I last wrote you; at least use 
what you have till you feel richer than when you wrote me. 

I have written to Mr Williams today. Immediately after I arrived in Virginia 
I sent him a ten dollar Bill to pay my College expences. I will give you a little 
extract of the letter he wrote me in answer to it, by which you will see they have 
either made a mistake or intend to extort. The former I hope, for I wish not to 
think so meanly of them as to believe them extortionors. The letter is dated Oct. 
25th, 1 8 10. He says: "Your letter was duly received. Amidst the budget of news 
I was anxious to communicate I forgot to give a account of my stewardship. I 
received the U.S. ten dollar Bill and paid for the writing your Diploma $3.50 ; 
and to the President for degree, catalogue &c $5.50. So you see I have one dollar 
not laid out. I called on the College Treasurer and found you were charged with 
two quarter Bills, which together with incidental charges amount to $8.50. These 
Bills I promised to see paid, but I have not paid them yet. What do you think of 
that? The debt which you owe is $7.50. The other dollar is due from me and the 
reason why I did not expend the whole of the money you sent me was because I 
thought it better to pay the whole bill by & bye than so small a part then." 

So you see, daddy, they have doubled the amount by some strange means or 
other. You must not pay it till you hear more from me. I have written to my 
friend Williams to look into the matter and not pay it till corrected. I ought in 
justice to have been charged with but one quarter Bill for I was there but one 
quarter and the custom in that college is to pay only from the time of entrance, 
but I am willing to pay the 7.50. If I can procure a small bill I will send it you 
for that purpose. 

I am sorry, daddy, you are so poor in spirit. You say the rich cannot sympathise 
with the poor and intimate as tho I wanted feeling. I know my letter was much of 
it nonsense & you must know I intended you to dispose of the money as you 
thought proper. After reading the first page of your letter I stopped, I laid down 
the letter, and cried. It made me so melancholly to think my good Father was not 
happier. Oh, thought I, were the mines of Mexicos mine, how gladly would 
I share them with you. It was sometime before I resumed the reading. The rest 
was more cheering. Tho you seemed involved so much in poverty, I was happy to 
hear you were all alive and well. 

You say you have tried many times to form an idea of this country and think it 
level as old Hartford &c. Your idea is correct about the lower part of the state 
and for 80 or 90 miles back from the sea. But if you had to climb some of [the] 
hills where I am you would not think them "molehills." It is as rough and 
uneven here as in Vt. There is a chain of mountains running through the state 
higher than the Green mountains. I cannot walk a half a mile without going up 
or down a hill. This town is situated upon an eminence. Many fields look old and 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 72 

worn out but much of the land looks new. They raise wheat and corn on their old 
land, but Tobacco requires new ground which they clear yearly. I cannot tell you 
any thing more particular about the land and these things than I have before. I 
wish in reality you could put your wishes in execution and have an opportunity to 
view this country with your own eyes. If I get settled down here and succeed, I 
will bear your expenses if you will come to see me. But I fear I shall never have 
the happiness of seeing you, you feel so old and so poor. 

This is Saturday. I went in the forenoon to Mr Crawford's. They live in a two 
story, upright house, painted white.^ They have their carpets on their floors and 
every thing in the genteelest style. Mr. C is a man between fifty and sixty, quite 
grey headed, educated at Princeton, formerly a distinguished Lawyer.^ Mrs. C. 
is a most amiable woman, the young Ladies distinguished for their sense and 
accomplishments. They dress in their silks daily but have too much good sense to 
be proud. The young Lady I anticipate making my future companion is devoid of 
all the affectation and common prudery of modern girls. She is sincere, candid, 
intelligent, and sensible. I will tell you no more about her now. 

Tim. tells me in his last he has heard from Michael. You have probably learnt 
more about it than I have. I have seen more snow here within two or three weeks 
than I have before since I left Vt. It fell about a foot deep at one time but soon 
disappeared. I will send you with this Mr. Quincy's speach as it was delivered.^ 
The Nat. Intelligencer, which I take, is the government paper and details all the 
speeches at full length. Some of the Virginians say Mr. Q. ought to have his head 
cut off. They do not relish his speech at all. In fact it is too violent, but I expect 
you and maam are such violent Federalists that it will please you much. I shall 
send home papers hereafter every week. I know what gratification it is to receive 
the ones you send me. It is almost as good as a letter, especially [when? ] you 
write upon them. I wish you would fill the margins [with? ] writing. I will write 
enough to let you know I am alive. [This sign?] stands for Elijah.^ 

I received a letter from Dr Cobbs last mail, informing me of his receipt of 
yours &c. I am very hearty and well this winter, tho not so fat as last fall. I am 
industrious, sometimes trim my midnight lamp. Does Stephen study well at 
home? Do you think he will ever be President of the U.S.? He seems to be so 
much engaged in his studies as not to find time to write me. You say I must tell 
you how my seminary "flourisheth." Very satisfactorily. The number of students 
are double what they were the first Session. I am called the best, far the best, 
President ever here. I am to you my own trumpeter, for you can hear no other 
way. You ask me about my fall but I have not room to describe it. I will defer it 
now and rehearse it in my next, if I do'nt forget it. If I do, I will tell you all 
about it when I see you. Tell maam "I have not forgotten her" and she must not 
despair of seeing me again. What more shall I say? Oh! Farewell!! 

Your son Elijah 



PART I: 1808-1829 73 

You ask me about the distance of this from Washington. It is not more than 200 
miles, which will make seven hundred miles that I am from home, which divided 
by thirty-five (which a man would ride easily one day after another) makes 
twenty days. I was about fifteen days getting to Washington. Do you own the 
Lyman lot now? Do you calculate to make any of the boys except Jesse farmers? 
However honorable and reputable that calling may be, I think they will do much 
better in others. I thought I had a great many questions to ask, but 1 have 
forgotten them. You know I am anxious to hear all the particulars about home 
and must gratify me, when you write, in detailing them. Adieu, Dear Sir. 

^ Tusculum, home of the Crawford family near New Glasgow, is said to have been built about 1735 by 
Capt. David Crawford. It is currently owned and occupied by T. S. Williams, a descendant of Lucy Fletcher 
Williams, by inheritance from his cousin, Sidney Fletcher, son of Elijah and Maria Crawford Fletcher. 
' Maria's father, William Sidney Crawford, was the fourth clerk of Amherst County, serving from 1790 for 
twenty-five years. He "became distinguished as a lawyer, being often a rival at the bar of Breckenridge, who 
left the field to him and moved to Kentucky" (Vanderbilt, op, cit., p. 27). This was John Breckenridge, who 
was born in 1760 near Staunton, married Polly Cabell of Amherst County in 1785, met Patrick Henry in 
many encounters at the bar, and moved to Kentucky in 1794.. He became a senator from Kentucky (1801— 5) 
and was Attorney General of the United States from 1805 until his death the following year (Brown, op. «"/., 
pp. 254—56). ^ Josiah Quincy (1772— 1864), as a member of Congress, was bitterly opposed to the declara- 

tion of war in 18 I 2. A skilled orator, he made a fiery speech Jan. 5, 181 3, denouncing the invasion of Canada 
and scorning the glories of war. He then resigned his seat in Congress and went home to Massachusetts, 
where he later became president of Harvard {D.A.B., XV, 308—11). "* A flourish used by Elijah in many 

letters, before and after this reference to it. 



New Glasgow 
June 20th, 1 8 13 
Dear Sir, with very great impatience have I waited week after week for the 
reception of a letter from }^ou. None had been received since the last of last 
March. Had I not received one or two from the neighborhood, I might have 
concluded you had all forgotten me, or all were dead. Never since I bid you 
farewell has there been such an interval in which I have not heard from you. I 
hardly knew what to think, but to my great relief and joy the last mall brought 
me yours of the 7th instant. It began with an excuse which was an extenuation of 
the fault, "That my mind had probably changed and I should feel little interest 
in affairs at home!" 

Dear Sir, need I repeat again that I cannot forget you, that I cannot cease 
calling you my parents, that I cannot forget the days of my infancy, the hours I 
passed under your kind parental protection. Oh no, I must forget to think, to feel, 
and remember when I forget the authors of my existence, the protecters of my 
childhood, and even now my first best human friends. No change of 
circumstances, situations, or connections will alter my affections. If I have chosen 
a companion recently,^ my highest esteem, dear to me as life itself, my filial 
regard for you is unaltered. My interest for all your happiness and prosperity is 
the same. I wish to hear from you as much now as ever. I wish to visit and see 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 74 

you, more that I may show you a daughter whom you need only know to esteem 
and consider worthy of adoption into your family. I intend as soon as 
circumstances will permit to enjoy that pleasure. I cannot tell certainly but the 
quicker the more agreeable. 

I have enjoyed perfect health and spent my time agreeably since I wrote last. 
We have been housekeeping more than a month. We live something in the 
Virginia style. I bought a barrel of mackerel and a cheese; the mackerel cost 8^, 
the cheese 2 shilling per pound. I wish, when Admiral Warren moves off our 
coast,^ maam would send me a cheese or two of her own make. I should eat it with 
more pleasure than any other. I am rather a bungler at the business of house 
keeping, but hope I shall learn. I wish you could visit us and see how we live. I 
would give you whiskey or bounce or wine to drink. Tell maam we have good 
Imperial tea and coffee, that we should take the greatest pleasure in pouring her 
out a cup of it as strong as she pleases. I cannot describe every thing of situations 
to you. It is a very comfortably and agreeably one. We have black servants 
enough. Little did I expect three years ago to be in such a situation as I am. How 
little do we know what a day will bring forth. 

Although you are most silent in approving my late conduct, I hope we shall 
neither have cause to lament it. I hope I shall yet prosper and enjoy a 
comfortable share of this worlds goods. I had some idea being the secretary you 
spoke of but it did not altogether suit my convenience at present. Mr. C, I 
believe, is yet in Washington. I have since here been persuing the study of Law, 
but it is doubtful if I ever practice. I shall persue my present employment 
sometime longer but not all my days. I will let Stephen take my place as soon as 
he qualifies himself. If he stays at college longer, I will endeavor to afford him 
some assistance, but I almost wish he would come and complete his education 
with me. It shall cost him nothing, or if he does not wish to come, I should be 
very much pleased to have any my other brothers come. I will not ask any my 
sisters to come till I come and see you. Then I will try and persuade some of 
them to live with me. They are so lazy, however, of late in writing me that I am 
most mad with them ; I have not received a letter from one of them these three 
months. I am sorry Brother Jesse thinks hard of me. I certainly never intended 
to injure him; all I wished was that you might all live in harmony and friendship 
and thought you better separate if you could not so live together. You did not say 
any thing of Fanny in your letter. I wish you would mention every one of them 
when you write. Maria asks me a great many questions about you. I did not let 
her see your letter, but I told her much of its contents. You must write to me just 
as you have heretofore ; no one but myself will ever see your letters. We have 
made a vow never to open each others letters. 

We have had remarkably hot weather for two or three days past. Our harvest is 
about begun. I wish your starving people had some of our flour, we have more 
rotting on hand. Thousands of barrels that can not be exported or eatten and it 



PART I: 1808-1829 75 

does not keep well. Apples and pears are most ripe and our season very forward. 
This is Sunday, I have been to meeting. It was on a sacremental occasion. We had 
two very good preachers, Hendron and Reed.^ 

Tell mama and all I love and remember them. I cannot write much more. I 
hope you will not fail hereafter to write me oftener and write even,' thing about 
the family. I wish Lucy and Laura and Calvin and Miles to write me. Tell 
Stoughton I have got a little black boy just about as big as he is and tell Louisa I 
have got a black girl that may be her waiting maid when she comes to see me. Fare 
you well, all. 

Elijah 

^Elijah Fletcher and Maria Antoinette Crawford were married Apr. 15, 1813. Securities and witnesses 
were Edmund Penn, B. Spooner, and Charles M. Carter (Amherst County Register of Marriages, I, 235). 
^Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren (1753— 1822) was appointed in .Aug. 1812 as Commander in Chief of His 
Majesty's squadron, which ranged down the whole coast of America, tightening the blockade. "He was 
America's chief enemy" (C. S. Forester, The Age of Fighcing Sail [Garden City, N.Y., 1956], p. 78). 
^ These were probably John Hendren and William S. Reid. The former apparently had a school in Amherst 
County, or was a tutor in the Cabell families (Brown, op. etc., p. 432). The latter is undoubtedly Parson Reid, 
whom Elijah met on his first visit to Lynchburg (see letter of Nov. 29, 181 1). 



At Mr. Crawfords 
Sunday morning, July 3 ist, 1 813 
Dear Sir, 

Without the pleasure of acknowledging the receipt of a letter from you, I sit 
down again to write to those "absent in body but present in spirit." We came here 
yesterday evening and shall spend the day here. Mr C is not at home. Maria said 
I must write to my friends, or they would begin to think she made me forgetful 
of them. No, nothing in this world will destroy the remembrance of those so 
dear. No day passes but my thoughts are with you. Frequently do I represent 
your situation. Even now I can imagine what you are all doing, who are preparing 
to go to meeting, what all my Brothers and sisters are about, and how my Dear 
Ma'am looks. Perhaps she is this moment thinking of Elijah. Oh ! could she see 
him, it would add much more to my pleasure. It will be you at home that will 
forget me sooner than I can forget you. Many times I have cause to think you are 
unmindful of me, for long are the intervals between your writing. I have had but 
two letters from home since last winter. I have written many more than that 
number and shall not cease to write, even should I not hear from home at all. I 
shall always consider it my duty and I know it will ever be my pleasure to spend 
every opportunity in writing you. 

This morning is pleasant and clear. I am alone in the office, nothing but silence 
reigns around me. We have no meeting to attend. I received a letter from Tim: 
not long since. He writes very short and ceremonious of late, speaks of his 
gallanting Gov. Tomkins' daughter. Is he not becoming too great a gentleman.? 
Had you not better advise him.' It will be received better coming from you than 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 76 

me. I expect you have been at Albany lately. Lucy wrote me on the last paper 
that you had gone to the springs." I suppose you started before haying. You have 
probably about completed your haying by this time and ready to begin your 
harvest. What do you [do] for help this summer, if Jesse is gone.' Calvin & 
Miles, I suppose, now are big enough to swing their sythe and cut a man's swath. 
Have you a school in your neighborhood this summer? Can Stoughton read.? It 
will soon be commencement and Stephen will be at home again. So runs my 
thought about you at home. Are you as anxious to know and learn my situations.'' 
I think you cannot be, for you are so little acquainted with circumstances around 
me you can have but little curiosity about it. My situation is not materially 
changed. I think I can say with truth it is more agreeable than when a single 
man. I work my own garden, tho it is rather pleasure than necessity that makes 
me do it. Parson Crawford sent me down a little bear last week. I did not like the 
trouble of keeping it and have given it to Van-tromp, a little Brother-in-law about 
Calvins age.^ I have not rode from home much this summer. We contemplate 
visiting Richmond next vacation. Maria has a number of relations there. This 
Session terminates in little more than two months. 

I received a letter from Spooner by the last mail. He writes from Norfolk, 
where he is stationed as a soldier in a volunteer company of militia. He was just 
ready to start and pay me a visit as his company was called out. Norfolk is a 
very sickly place and I fear the climate will not suit him. The British have pretty 
much left our River [James] after taking Hampton, a small town, 
and perpetrating the worst of crimes. I hope. Dear Sir, if you be a Federalist you 
do not advocate or palliate the conduct of such an enemy. Do you expect the 
approaching election in Vt will be favorable to your party.' 

Our season has been very favorable to crops. We have had more dry and warm 
weather than common. Crops of wheat have been exceeding good, but if times 
remain as at present, it will not bring more than 2/6 or 3/ per bushell, for there 
will be no chance of exporting it. I hope you will give me a description of your 
trip to the Springs when you return and be particular in describing all your 
situation and circumstances. I wish to hear a great many things from home. 
Maria sends her love and respect to you. Tell Mama we shall both come and see 
her as soon as possible. 

Farewell, Dear Sir. Remember me to all my friends and be assured Elijah is 
yet, and ever will remain, your dutiful son, 

Elijah 

^ Timothy was still in Albany, where Daniel D. Tompkins (1774— 1825) was elected governor of New York 
four times between 1807 and 1816. He was later elected vice-president and served during President Monroe's 
two terms in office, from 1817 to 1825. ^ Probably Saratoga Springs. ^ Van Trump Crawford was born 

in 1800, Calvin in 1798. 



PART I: 1808-1829 77 

New Glasgow 
Sept. 5th, 1 8 13 
Dear Sir, 

I have had the pleasure of receiving both your letters. The one of the 22nd 
August came last Thursday. And tho' your letters afford a melancholly pleasure, 
no one knows my joy at receiving them. However mournful it makes me to think 
you have troubles, I am pleased to know them that I may sympathise [with] 
you. 

I wrote a letter to Stephen a week or two ago and directed it to Cavendish, as I 
expected it would be vacation and he would be at home. If he is not there, you 
may open the letter and send it to him if \'ou hear where he is. I figured to myself 
his situation ; I knew what troubles and difficulties he would meet with in getting 
through College. I likewise knew he could get as good an education here as he 
could at Middlebury. I could board him and help him to anything here without 
feeling it, much easier than I could send him money where he is. I should be glad 
to have him with me. I can do much for him if he be a good scholar. I have so 
much influence with the corporation that any one I recommend will succeed me. I 
could qualif)' Stephen quicker to take my place sooner than they will at Midd 
[lebury]. I wish he might come by the ist of December, or sooner if he came. 
You must hear from him soon. Let him know my wishes and advise him as you 
think proper. Nothing would afford me more pleasure than having one of the 
family with me. It would look like old times — and it would be equally as pleasing 
to Maria. She often tells me to write to some of my brothers or sisters to come and 
live with us. We live well enough, I guess, to please any of them. At least we live 
in friendship. 

Maria shows as much superiority in her management of domestic affairs as I 
thought she did amiable loveliness before I married her. We live quite in the style 
which I have described to you before as characterizing the respectable Virginians. 
My bottle is presented to every visitor, but I drink nothing myself stronger than 
water or cyder. You need entertain no fears of my intemperance ; the taste of 
spirituous liquers is rather disagreeable. I think I never shall drink them, as long 
as I live in a country where there is good water or beer. I am now in one room of 
the Academy where I retire to write. I have complied with your request and 
never shown Maria )'our letters. There are a great many family secrets that I 
never shall communicate. 

You ask me a number of questions about our people here. I rather think you 
have too bad an idea of them. There are a great many good men here as well as 
many bad. The Sabbath is too little regarded and religion in a low state. Slavery 
is rather a misfortune than a crime. The present holders of slaves are not 
censurable for their fathers crimes of introducing them. They are only censurable 
for not treating those they possess well. We have some free negroes here, and it 
is a general remark that the slaves who have good masters are in a better 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 78 

situation. To emancipate them at once would be the height of folly and danger. 
You must not think too badly of slave holders — for your jo« is one. But be 
assured he is not fond of that species of property and whatever portion of it 
fortune or necessity places under his care, he will use every endeavor to make 
their situation as agreeable and comfortable as possible. They never shall want 
for victuals and cloathes and humane treatment. I know what horrid ideas I 
formerly had of slavery and how I despised the man who would trafic in human 
flesh. My feelings may be a little softened by living in a country where such 
things are common, but they never will be perfectly reconciled to them. 

I am sorry Brother Timothy does not possess that affection for me that I have 
for him. I am inconscious of doing any thing to offend. The favors I have done 
him were done cheerfully and whatever he thinks of them or me, I never shall 
regret that I have done them or omit any opportunity hereafter showing every 
kindness or brotherly aid in my power. How unnatural it seems that a brother 
should be an enemy of a brother. That temporary anger or displeasure should 
arise among them is common, but for lasting hatred or malevolence to exist seems 
worse than brutish or savage. I love all my brothers and sisters; I never shall 
cease to love them. They may hate and despise me, I may pity but never shall 
return their hatred. I had a letter from Tim last week; he mentioned that he was 
unwell and he feared consumptive. He has written very short and ceremonious 
letters this summer, never mentions any thing about his situation or prospects. 
He wrote me one letter that had not more than ten lines in it. I was glad to hear 
from Michael, I will write him tho' he has been very unkind in not writing me. 
Is he yet a daylaborer? And is his situation as formerly? ! 

I have been reading this morning Dr. Blairs sermon upon "Charity thinketh 
no evil."^ I have all the five volumes; you need not think me an infidel. You talk 
some upon politics in your letter. I shall always reverance your opinions, if I 
cannot think as you do. I wish for the welfare of our Country and love it better 
than Great Britain or any other. I trust all things will work together for good. 
Spooner writes me they expect daily to be attacked at Norfolk. He feels confident 
of repelling their attack. Our summer has been quite dry ; our crop of corn will be 
small. Wheat sells for 2/6 per bushel, so you may expect we have cakes upon 
cheap terms. I have a great many things to write but my paper is most gone. You 
must give my and Maria's love to maam and all the family. If Laura is at 
Middlebury, I shall write her. 

Monday Morning, 6th Sept. 

I dreamt last night that I was at home, that I saw you all, that you were much 
altered. Even the vision was exquisitely pleasing — how much more will be the 
reality! 

I dont know what to say about paying Williams. You saw what my objections 
were last Spring. I wrote to him about them but he never has answered my letter. 



PART I: 1808-1829 79 

You may do as you please. If you have any Vt bills and think proper to pay it, 
I will pay you. I do not think he has treated me very politely about it. I am 
sensible the account is wrong. I must bid you once more farewell. Let me hear 
from home again soon. Maria sends her love and respects to you all. Tell Maam 
and Fanny and all that I remember them, and once more Adieu. 

Your's, 
Elijah 

^Samuel Blair (1712— 51) was a Presbyterian minister who attained renown as a preacher. His sermons 
were published, and "on account of their elegant style and great moderation in all things, were most popular. 
I remember that when either of my sisters would be at all rude or noisy my mother would threaten them with 
Blair's Sermon on Gentleness" (Meade, op. cit., I, 25). 



New Glasgow 
May [2, 1 8 14] 
Dear Sir, 

Tho the mail does not start from this to the north for two or three days, I have 
begun an answer to yours of the 17th ultimo received a few hours ago. 

Your letter breathes the accustomed melancholy, doubt, and difficulty. I 
presume you think your lot is a hard one. I am sensible from your first setting out 
in life you have encountered many a hardship, trial and trouble. You first 
penetrated into a wilderness country, had few neighbors but the wild beast of 
the forest, and encountered all the inconveniences necessarily attending such a 
situation. You have supported a very numerous and expensive family by the mere 
earnings of honest industry, always too noble-hearted, upright, and honorable to 
descend to the arts of cunning speculation to take advantage of the weakness 
and necessities of your fellow creatures. It melts my heart quicker than any thing 
else to think, after so many troubles, you cannot enjoy a happy old age, and go 
down to the tomb in peace, plenty and quietness. I hope this will be the case. I 
hope a brighter sun will shine upon your prospects. Nothing in my power shall be 
withheld to make it so. 

If m\- situation a little time past and at present is such that I cannot lend much 
aid, I hope it will not always be. You may be assured that I shall always remain 
your dutiful son, never happier than when assisting a parent I so much respect. If 
my means are small, my [intent] is always good. The most difficulty I find is in 
making a beginning. You well know I had nothing but my own exertions. I have 
husbanded my talents to the best advantage. I have got something of an estate, 
but it is not in money. It is real estate, and land and slaves are not productive in 
war times. This will not always be the case. 

I have determined to relinquish my employment as president of this 
institution.' I find it laborious and confining and not as active a life as I wish to 
lead. I am this \ear cultivating a plantation. Corn is up big enough for the first 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 80 

hoeing; all vegetation is perhaps six weeks or two months forewarder than with 
you. I have a very good garden and take pleasure to work in it myself. I enjoy 
tolerably good health tho I am lean and poor this spring. I drink buttermilk and 
eat bannaclabbar and like them both extremely. Bannaclabber is milk after it is 
turned; put a little sugar with it and it is excellent. I did not like it at first, nor 
buttermilk, but after a little while I found them very agreeable and nourishing. I 
drink no ardent spirits. 

We have no children and hope and pray we never shall have any. Children 
may some time prove a source of comfort and consolation to parents, but from all 
my experience and observation, they more frequently prove a vexation. Hardly 
any family where they all do well. A parents hopes & wishes and all centres in 
their offspring, and they are too freequently blasted. I trust our mutual affection 
will be such we shall always find a consolation in each other, and what little 
property we may be successful in acquiring, we can as profitably and cheerfully 
bestow upon our relations that are needy. 

I had a letter from Mich, about a week ago. He was then in Albany, and 
Stephen too. Stephen acts rather childish. I presume you have done your duty 
towards him. Should he think preferable to go off from his friends we ought not 
to be too much concerned. Michael says Stephen Is mild and agreeable and 
Timothy rather proud and boisterous. Jesse has left you. It probably is well that 
he has done so, certainly if you could not live in peace. Poverty and peace is better 
than plenty with contention. I [would] rather labor with my own hands as a slave 
than live in ease with quarrels and disturbances. People that like to fret and 
quarrel have their own reward. I hope you all live peaceably and contented at 
home. I hope ma'am is contented and quiet. If you undergo hardships, labor, 
toils and troubles, domestic peace and mutual enjoyment will be a recompense. 
It is not well to be too discontented with ones own situation. To think our 
situation might be worse and to behold a thousand whose situation is actually 
worse is a very good way to console ourselves for our own afflictions. I enjoy peace 
and domestic felicity; I owe no man, nor ever intend. Whatever I want, I rather 
suffer for a little while till I get money to pay down for it than to buy it upon 
trust. This thing of being in debt is an everlasting vexation. It keeps us always 
harrassed, perplexed and dependent. I [would] rather have little property and 
owe no man for it than a great estate to be dunned and importuned by creditors. 

If Jesse has left you, and got the Lyman lot, I think he ought to be contented. 
If you have not help enough to carry on your work, you better take a tenant if 
you are unable to hire. My situation is such that I cannot spare much money this 
year. It will not be so long, and whenever I have the ability, depend upon it, I 
have the will. Tim: has had rather a hard time of it this winter. Commercial 
affairs will soon, I hope, be more favorable. You ought not to despond. I trust 
you have not a child that would see you suffer, or that does not feel as a child 



PART I: 1808-1829 81 

ought towards a parent from whom they have recevd so many tendernesses. I 
will send you what you paid Mr. Williams for me as soon as I can obtain such 
bills as will answer, altho part of it is unjust. Friday April 29th. 

Sunday May ist. Friday Mr. Crawford sent for me to dine with him and 
Judge Stewart, who presides at the Superior Court of this County." Yesterday it 
rained. I bought some cabbage plants at a quarter dollar per hundred and set 
them out. This morning is very pleasant. Mr Spooner was up here a fortnight ago. 
He will probably be married next Oct. to a sister of my wif's.^ He succeeds 
extremely well in the practice of law, and is very popular where he lives. 

I hope it will not be so long again before I hear from you. It was more than six 
months before. Remember me to all the family. Tell Maam and all I want to see 
them very much. Should peace soon be concluded,'' as some here expect and all 
hope, I trust it will not be long before I visit you. Farewell, Dear Sir, may you all 
be prosperous and happy is the warmest wish of my heart. 

Your affectionate son, 
Elijah 

Maria wishes to be remembered to you and all the family. 

Sunday evening. Tho I have once closed my letter, I will write a few words 
more. I suppose you have all been at meeting to day. We are not much blessed 
with good preaching in this neighborhood. There has been no meeting in town 
to day. I suppose you have declined sending the Washmgtonian; I have not 
received one for some time. I get a Boston paper at present. 

^ The exact date of Elijah's resignation as president of the New Glasgow Academy is not known, but it was 
apparently during the following year. ^Archibald Stuart (1757-1832), Revolutionary soldier, legislator, 

and jurist, was a judge of the Virginia circuit court at this time. ^ According to the family Bible, Elizabeth 

Crawford was married Aug. 15, 1814. * The Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812, was not signed 

until Dec. 24, 1814; it was ratified by the United States Senate Feb. 17, 1815. 



New Glasgow 
July 2nd, 1 8 14, Saturday Evening 
Dear Sir, 

Next Monday will make the fourth anniversary since I parted with my friends 
in Vt. Little did I imagine then that four years would revolve ere I had the 
pleasure of seeing you all again. Little could I then calculate upon the changes 
that would take place in my situation. My good mother told me then I must not 
stay from home more than two years. But alas! I have doubled that time and am 
not at home yet! Tho' I live in hopes that two years more will not pass away 
before I revisit the Green hills of the North. I suppose you have lived so long 
without me, you have become most reconciled not to see me. It is not so with me. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 82 

My anxiety has not abated; I long to behold the sacred spot of my nativity and 
its inhabitants. I frequently think of the changes that has probably taken place 
since I left you. 

Sunday 3d. 

To day is pleasant. For a week back we have had naught but rain and cloudy 
weather. It being harvest time, has injured very much that part of the crop which 
the rust, fly, and smut had not previously destroyed. The crop of wheat never 
was known to be so bad as this year, a great part is so much injured as not to be 
worth harvesting. In many large fields that would have produced one or two 
thousand bushels, had the wheat been good, the people have turned their cattle 
and horses and hogs in. 

However we are not so much grieved about our bad crop, for it would bring us 
little or nothing if we had a plentiful harvest. Few have sold their last years crop. 
It will probably rot or spoil upon their hands; grain cannot be preserved here as 
with you. Their is an insect here called weavel that will generally destroy it if 
kept more than a year. My wheat is not so bad as much in the neighborhood. I 
have about twenty acres of excellent oats I shall begin to cradle this week. I 
suppose you have hardly begun your haying yet. I remember how I labored with 
you in haying the year before I came away. I would do it cheerfully again, if 
there, but I should have to begin moderately to season myself to it. I reckon I 
could carry a swath with Calvin and Miles — and perhaps, Sir, with you. I am not 
stout and fat but tolerable hearty. I was weighted yesterday, my weight was 1 29. 

I have been to meeting to day — heard an Italien preach, one Mr Jefferson 
brought from Italy to instruct him in planting a vineyard. But he found the 
grape did not succeed well here, and from a Roman catholic vinedresser he has 
become a Methodist preacher.' Our ministers here are all of the most ordinary. An 
eloquent preacher is rarely to be met with. We have ripe pears and huckleberries 
in abundance. 

Where is Stephen? Where is Jesse? Where is Lucy? It is so long since I heard 
from home, I know nothing about the situation of affairs there. I would esteem it 
a great favor to have a good long family letter. I suppose you rejoice much at the 
downfall of Bonaparte. I shall not lament it if his overthrow grows beneficial to 
us, which I fear. Many of the wise men here talk with certainty of peace, but the 
Lord only knows when we shall have that Blessing. I suppose it does not make 
much odds with you, as the army is stationed to the north. It affords a fine market 
for all your stock and produce you have to spare. Our situation in a national point 
of view is certainly very disagreeable. I trust the wisdom of our rulers [will] 
extricate us; I have the highest confidence in their good intention. The enemy 
are upon our coast now, f reequently come up the rivers to plunder and entice 
away and force away slaves. Many have sent their slaves from the lower counties 
into the upper for safe keeping. 



PART I: lSOS-1829 S3 

I have not room to write more. Maria sends her love to you all. Tell my Dear 
Mother I yet remember her and all the rest. May God take you all into his holy 
keeping. Your Ever affectionate son, 

Elijah 

^ This might have been a member of the Giannini family, of whom Antonio, Francis, and Nicholas are 
mentioned in the Jefferson correspondence and account books, Antonio [Anthony] as late as 1811, according 
to James A. Bear, Jr., curator of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, Inc., in a letter dated Apr. 7, 
1964. He did not know of one who might have become a Methodist minister, however. "During the year 
[1778] Jefferson hired several other men to work for him, the most important of whom was Anthony 
Giannini, a vigneron, brought over from Italy by [Philip] Mazzei to work at Colle," a farm just below 
Monticello (Edwin Morris Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book [Philadelphia, 1944], p. 81). 



New Glasgow 
4th July, A.D. 1 8 1 5 

This day about 8 o'clock in the morning in 1 8 1 I bade my Dear Friends in 
Ludlow a long Farewell. Has five longyearspast since that period? I can hardly 
be sensible of it. And five long years have passed without beholding my Good 
Father or mother, Brothers or Sisters. I hardly expected on that morning being 
so long absent from you. 

This day I probably think of home more than ever, tho none, I believe, pass 
without my thoughts being with you. I received your letter in which you 
complain so much of my not writing. I acknowledge I have been negligent but 
not more so than my relations. That was the first letter I had rec'd from you since 
last August and I believe I had written to you a number times since that time. I 
hardly know when Lucy or any of the family have written before you was so 
good as to write. However, I trust our regard and affection for each other is not 
measured by the number of our letters. 

I am much more engaged this summer than usual. I hardly have a day that I 
can call my own. The management of all Mr. Crawford's affairs devolving upon 
me makes my task arduous.^ He was a man of extensive concerns and great estate. 
He left his affairs much deranged and unsettled, which renders the settlement of 
his concerns doubly troublesome. 

He was sick seven weeks, bore his illness with the fortitude of a Philosopher 
and died with the composure and resignation of a Christian. He was a loss to his 
family which nothing can repair.^ My first business was to sell of his crops on 
hand, which were very considerable as he had not sold any during the war. 
Tobacco & Wheat — 45 thousand weight of the former and a thousand bushels of 
the latter — amounting to four or five thou'nd dollars. I have to manage all the 
Plantations, or at least visit them now and then to see if the overseers are going 
on well. One of our Plantations is 1 5 miles off, another nine.^ The others are more 
convenient. We began our harvesting the first of last week and are most through. 
Our season has been very cold and dry. Wheat is of a plump kernel but thin and 
low. How happy should I be, could you be with me and ride with me to our 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 84 

Plantations and see our mode of cultivation and living. I think I want to see you 
and Maam more than ever. Maria and I frequently talk about you and about 
visiting you. I shall do it as soon as my business will admit. 

I wish you would be more particular when you write about the situation of our 
family. What is Calvin doing in Windsor? And where does Jesse live? Tell 
Fanny she must not go from home to live. She must stay at home and assist 
Maam and work for herself. I will give her more money than she can make by 
going out. I have $ 1 5 Pensylviania money which I will send her and Maam in a 
few days and they may share it equally between them. I have one happy event to 
announce: Cousin John Patten is with me.* He arrived last Thursday. He left 
Boston in May, intends settling somewhere in this southern world. I have spent 
my time extremely happy with him. He is the first relation I have seen since 
leaving New England. I expect he may stay some time with me. 

I might write many things but I used to write such long letters that I believe I 
wrote everything about the situation of this place. As to friends, I intend as far as 
possible to live in peace with all the world; however I am determined to 
maintain my rights and dont consider it any curse to have some enemies. I hope I 
have some warm Friends, perhaps among the relations of my wife the most 
warm. Mr Spooner will be here the last of this week. His Lady is here now. I 
have not heard from Tim. or Stephen for some time. Michael wrote me 
sometime last spring. I will endeavor to be more punctual hereafter. You must 
pardon me if I have been too neglectful heretofore. Be assured it was not for 
want of respect. 

Tell my Dear Mother I think of & remember her with the livliest emotions. I 
shall take the first opportunity to visit her. Give my respects to all the children 
and believe me your son, as Ever, 

Elijah 

Elijah was appointed acting administrator of the estate of his father-in-law, William S. Crawford, who 
died Feb. 19, 1815, and was buried at Tusculum (Amherst County Will Book, vol. A— I, 37). "For infor- 

mation about the Crawford family see Appendix IV. ^ Two properties frequently mentioned In the ad- 

ministrator's account for the Crawford estate are called Tobacco Row (about 15 miles from New Glasgow) 
and Indian Creek, near the Nelson County boundary (Will Book, vol. A— I, 38fl.). ^ He apparently went 

Into the mercantile business in New Glasgow, as there are several payments for groceries to John Patten & 
Co. In the administrator's account for the Crawford estate {I6uL). 



New Glasgow 
August 3 1 St, 1 8 1 5 
Dear Sir, 

My thoughts have been more particularly roving to the north for a few days 
past than usual. I have come to the determination to visit you sometime next 
season if no unforseen accident befalls me. I hope by that time to arrange business 
here so that I can leave for a while. As for the present time, I never was so busily 
engaged in my life. The whole care of so large an Estate devolving upon me 



PART I: 1808-1829 85 

makes my situation something difficult. I bend my whole time and attention^ to 
arranging and closing the business." It was left in something of a deranged 
situation and I find the disposition of mankind is to take all possible advantage. I 
have a very good opportunity to discover the rascality of my Fellow Creatures. 
My little experience would present a gloomy picture of human depravity. It will 
be a good lesson to me to keep things straight and correct, to have my earthly 
concerns so arranged as to be ready to quit them at any time. I have likewise to 
attend much to plantation business. We cultivate four plantations and lease out 
three. We have had a tolerable year for crops, except too dry. I have sold my 
wheat at 7/6 pr bushel, more than it would bring now the war in Europe is likely 
to be at an end. Our crops of Tobacco look finely. We have just begun to cut it. 
It has been rather too dry for corn; however I reckon we shall make at all our 
Plantations three or four thousand bushels. 

Dear Sir, I wish to turn my thoughts a little to affairs at home. I thank you 
kindly for the confidence you placed in me by sending me the outlines of your 
wishes when you depart from this lower world. My only wishes on that subject is, 
if you should be taken before our good Mother, that you leave her in a 
comfortable situation, and likewise my Sisters and younger Brothers. We who 
have left you, I trust, will be able to take care of our selves and should you think 
proper to devise any thing to me, I will apply the full amount to the benefit of 
some of my Brothers and Sisters that may be most needy and worthy. I should 
consider the "Day Book," which you say I may have, an invaluable Treasure. I 
wish for some trifle to keep in remembrance of a Father who is very dear to my 
heart. But, Sir, perhaps after all you and I have said upon the subject, it may be 
that I am summoned away first. If so, it will be my intention to so remember you 
in my last Testament. I hope you will live to enjoy a goodly old age, to see much 
pleasure and comfort and happiness yet. I know you are sometimes troubled with 
dejection of spirits and trust your present gloomy forebodings are occasioned by 
that and not by any real decline of bodily health. However, I think with you it 
is well to be prepared. I think it well for a man to make and leave a will, not but 
the law makes good disposition of an intestates Estate, yet in many little things it 
may not make it so convenient for the survivors. 

I have not heard from Tim or Stephen this summer and know nothing what 
they are about. What is Calvin doing in Windsor? You cannot be too particular 
when you write me about the situation of the family. I feel the same interest for 
them all that I ever did. 

Tomorrow I have to go about ten miles to attend the measurement of some 
Land, next day I have to go to Lynchburg for it is my Bank day. I have to visit 
our Plantations every fornight or three weeks to see that affairs are going on 
right. Altho we have overseers, it will not do to trust them altogether. No one 
can see to anothers business so well as he can himself. 

You mention that Fanny talks [of] coming on to see me. I should be happy to 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 86 

have her and if it is not convenient this summer, she must wait till next and come 
on with me. The Travelling in this country is rather inconvenient, and very 
difficult for a Lady without some man with her. You must remember me to all 
the Family, particularly to Maam. Tell her I yet think of her and long to see her, 
that I hope another year will not roll around before we meet. Maria joins me in 
Love to you all. I have no more to add. May you all live happy and contented, as 
much so as this wicked world will allow, is the Fervent Prayer 

of your Son 
E. Fletcher 

This would Indicate that Elijah had given up schoolteachlng. "Evidence In support of Elijah's remark 

about his heavy responsibilities Is given In Appendix V. 



New Glasgow 
July 24th, 1 817 
Dear Sir, 

Knowing your anxiety to learn the events of my journey home, I omit no time 
in giving you the information.^ On my return home I spent two days in Albany 
with Tim. I started in the steam Boat for NYork, spent but a short time there 
and proceeded on to Philadelphia, where I arrived the 9th instant. I found 
Stephen there, but could get no particular information of Calvins situation. I saw 
one or two persons that had become acquainted with him, particularly a Mr 
Stewart who married one of Col. Wyman's daughters & formerly lived in 
Walpole. He told me that Calvin while there was in good heart and good spirits, 
that Calvin was introduced to him by a Quaker gentleman who seemed to be 
particularly attached to him, and had made up a small school for Calvin, but 
Calvin thought it not an object sufficient for him to stay for. This Quaker 
gentleman then recommended him to a place near Lancaster for which place 
Calvin started on foot." Mr Stewart said he seemed to have money and not to be 
in any want. He said Calvin had a happy faculty of forming acquaintances and 
making friends, and every one [who? ] became acquainted with him was much 
pleased & seemed to take an interest in his welfare. I think very probably he has 
written to you before thisj if so, you must inform me, for I feel much interest in 
his welfare. 

I stayed in Philadelphia two days and started for Richmond by the way of 
Baltimore, Washington & Fredericksburg, where I arrived the 1 5th. I went to 
Petersburg & got home the 20th. You will see from this that I made pretty rapid 
marches. I was happy to find all well at home, our harvest all over & the people 
eating upon the new crop. The harvest was a very abundant one and the corn 
looks more promising than it has for many years. All kinds of grain will probably 
be very cheap next fall. All the cherries & pears & peas are gone but the apples are 
now ripe. 



PART I: 1808-1829 87 

Stephen was to leave Philadelphia a few days after I did for Richmond.' I 
suppose ver)- probably he is in Richmond by this time & will be up here in a few 
days. I shall send my horse for him next week. He had been quite sick before I 
got to Philadelphia but was very well when I left him. A voyage at sea will be 
servisable to him. 

Nothing new or extraordinary turned up while I was gone. I found every 
thing well at home. My transition from Vermont here was so sudden, the 
northern scenes are constantly in my mind. I write you this in haste. My next, 
which shall be shortly, will be more particular upon various subjects. 

Remember me to my Mother and all the family and believe me, as ever, 

Your affectionate Son, 
E Fletcher 

Elijah had returned to Virginia from his first trip to Vermont since leaving Ludlow in 1810. ~ Calvin 

left home in Apr. 1817, according to his diary, now in the Indiana State Historical Library at Indianapolis. 
He went to Boston but failed in his efforts to ship as a sailor for the East Indies, so he continued his journey 
to Pennsylvania, "where he engaged himself, for a short time, as a laborer in a brick-yard" Fletcher, 
{op. cis., p. 145). ^ Stephen apparently journeyed on to New Orleans where he died in 1818, a victim of 
yellow fever, according to family accounts. 



Lynchburg' 
Aug. 22, 1 819 
Dear Sir, 

It was by the last mail I received your letter acknowledging the arrival and 
reception of the Flour. You say that my Brother Jesse took a Barrel and will 
account with me. I want no account for it, although I had rather had it disposed 
of as I had directed. I have the same love and regard for Jesse that I have for any 
of my Brothers. He was always very kind and attentive to [me] and perhaps I 
have not yet made proper returns for his former favors. But it is my disposition 
rather to assist the needy when I have but little to give. Jess is (and I am glad to 
hear it) very indepent, thriving and getting rich, and a gift is no charity, while 
my sisters situations are not quite so independent and agreeable as I could wish. 

It mortified me to hear that my poor sister Laura had to take a horse & put in 
a barrell & go to mill, & walk uphill, tho she seems to do it & submit to such 
hardships with a fortitude & resignation hardly credible, and seems willing to 
submit to any hardships & privations, could she be in a situation she thought 
independent and not often asked by one whom I always esteemed as an 
affectionate Father and one whom I once thot would make any sacrifice for the 
happiness of his children, "How long, Laura, shall I have to support you" and 
to poor Fanny, quite helpless, and an invalid, and who deserves the ever lasting 
gratitude [word crossed out] of her Father, mother. Brothers & Sisters for the 
labor & industry she used so many years to assist in raising a numerous and 
troublesome Family, and whose labor alone in her Fathers family if properly 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 88 

charged & estimated would support her handsomely till she was three score years 
& ten, "How long, Fanny, shall I have to maintain you." My principles may be 
wrong, but I think a Father is under obligations to support a Daughter whom he 
was the cause of bringing into this troublesome world — helpless, without being 
able to gain the accomplishment, if nature had not done it, to attract attention and 
gain a Protector. I say he is as much bound to protect, support & do every 
[thing] for their comfort after they are grown as when not more than one year 
old. I can hardly conceive such observations from a parent to a daughter 
[illegible] and from such a Father as I think it an honor to call mine. I will not 
believe it at all, or at least I will think them made in the moment of Passion and 
that they are not his real sentiment, or the little I have seen & observed of human 
nature might in many instances make me think that a Parent had become overf ond 
of a Son ; that that son had entwined himself so deeply in his Fathers affections 
that his Fathers supreme wish and desire had become that of supporting his 
darling sons interest and the interest of his Family, to even the detriment of the 
Fathers interest & Estate or the prosperity & happiness of the rest of his Family. 

I have, to be sure, seen such things in the little Travel & Experience I have had 
in life. I have seen, what might otherwise be called an honest & good man, a 
Father so fatally wrapped up in warm & blind affection for a particular son that 
he would give his own bread out of his mouth & starve if that son required, or he 
would make the whole of the rest of his Family miserable, wretched and poor to 
gratify the avarice or caprice of the darling son. But better things I hope from the 
Prudent & Sensible Father which I call mine. Perhaps Jesse is excusable for his 
treatment to his mother & Sisters 5 perhaps he treats them kindly, or perhaps he is 
somewhat under the influence of a woman who brot nothing to a Family that was 
once prosperous & independent, and who has now with her husband, by 
stratagems or honest means, risen & is rising upon the decline of that Family, and 
perhaps with little magnanimity she may take a pleasure in wounding the 
independent Feelings of the mother & sisters of that Family. She would take a 
pleasure in seeing a fine young girl, little accustomed to such things & who had 
seen better days, and who, but for her & her husband, would still see better days, 
tackle up an old Mare with a Colt & trudge off to mill. Yes, she would glory in 
seeing the mortification and perhaps say to herself, I have not brot you as low as 
I will yet, by the ingenuity of my husband & the affection his Father has for him. 
I will bring you. Miss Laura, Fanny, &c, to still a lower pitch. It shall not be long 
before your Father shall cast you off upon the wide world and you shall be glad 
to beg of me to do the most menial offices to get a little to eat and a few cloths to 
wear; or at least I will so work that your poor duped Father shall not have it in 
his power to offer you support. 

But I stop. I hope the wisdom and goodness of my Father will prevent any of 
my Foreboding being realized. It is his duty & I have no doubt his inclination to 
protect the weak & unprotected part of his Family. Jesse can take care of himself, 



PART I: 1808-1829 89 

but Maam, Fanny, Laura, Louisa & Stoughton have no other one to look to for 
protection. Jesse may have been a dutiful son and in other respects as much 
entitled to your Favors as others, but he does not need them, & in these hard 
times it probably is as much as you can do to maintain that part of the Family 
which is alone dependent upon you. You see from this the cause why I had rather 
poor Fanny had taken that Barrel of Flour & bot a gown for herself k Laura & 
paid the balance to Jesse for money she had to borrow of him to go to the springs 
a year ago, and prevented her from the mortification of frequently hearing from 
him and his wife that she is dependent upon him, that she owes him money! But 
let it be as it is. I feel great anxiety for my sisters. 

You will see I have written to you with great Freedom — perhaps too much. 
Pardon me if I have. I write this part of the communication to you alone. Excuse 
me if I have said any thing in it wrong. I feel still the liveliest interest in the 
prosperity of our Family. I must enjoin it upon you to let not [any] read, hear 
read, or see this part of my letter. I must ask the favor of you, consume it as 
soon as you read. You may think it impertinent nonsense, but at any rate destroy 
it. I will commence & write another sheet upon a more agreeable subject. 

^ This IS the first letter from Lynchburg. Although the date of Elijah's arrival there is not known, his name 
appears in a real estate transaction recorded Jan. 17, 1818 (Lynchburg Deed Book, vol. D, 304). 

Lynchburg 
June nth, 1820 
Dear Sir, 

By the last mail I rec'd your letter of May the — . I should have written to you 
earlier, but as I wrote Jess, I thought it best to disperse [or] scatter my letters a 
little, that you might not be troubled in these hard times with too much postage. 
You said nothing of receiving the Flour which started from Richmond sometime 
in the early part of April. It was sent on by the same man it was last year, who has 
boats running from Hartford to Bellows falls.' I hope you have received it before 
this. 

I have the pleasure of informing you that Calvin is now with us." He left Ohio 
about three weeks ago and arrived here last Wednesday. He introduced himself 
to me, for I should have no more known him than the greatest stranger in the 
world. Neither did Tim know him.^ I wrote for him to quit his school, come here 
and finish his study of Law. I thought he was sacrifising precious time and that he 
ought to have an opportunity better than he could get in Ohio. From his letters 
and from the information of a gentleman from this place of my acquaintance, I 
was persuaded he was very promising and only wanted an opportunity to make a 
distinguished man. I wrote to him to buy himself a horse, settle up his affairs, 
come here and leave the wild woods & uncultivated society where he was; that he 
should have every opportunity of Books & Instruction till he felt himself 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 90 

perfectly qualified to commence the practice of Law. I thought it would be great 
advantage to him. He would have an opportunity of seeing more of men & 
manners, and when he completes his education he may return to any part of the 
western country he prefers to settle in. He followed my advise. He had been sick, 
for some time confined, & his physicians thought a ride would help him. The 
gentleman who saw him in Ohio told me he had become a mere skeleton from 
severe application, and that his opportunities for Books was so bad that Calvin 
told him he had read thro one Book eighteen times. Calvin bot a horse that cost 
$68 Ohio money, which he says is at a depreciation of 30 to 40 p. cent for Specie or 
Eastern money. 

Calvin resembles none of our Family but Miche. He is the very picture of 
Michael — low, stout-built, broad-shouldered, but rather thin at present, tho he 
has perfectly recovered his health. He has Mich's twist & turn in the expression 
of his face, & he has Mich's mind, except he has complete command of his 
passions. He has disciplined his mind to a good code of morality. He has the most 
tender and delicate feelings; he will shed tears in a moment when recurring to 
some former family transaction. He is like a sensative plant. Take Calvin all in 
all, I think him a son you may be proud of. I assure you [ I ] feel proud of him 
as a Brother. You will see I have almost filled up my letter about Calvin, but as 
you & maam have no other way of hearing these particulars about him, and as it 
is uncertain when ever you will see him again, I hope it will be agreeable to you. 
He will write you after he has been here awhile. 

You speak something in your letter of disposing of the balance of your farm. I 
should be sorry, for one, that it should belong to strangers, and tho if I should 
buy it, I should not calculate it would ever be any advantage to me, yet if it could 
remain for a support for yourself, my mother, & the Sisters that did not get 
married, & Stoughton, it would be much gratification. If you would be willing to 
dispose of it to me upon reasonable terms, I should under these considerations 
like to buy it. You may make some propositions if you think proper — say what it 
should be worth, giving yourself & my mother a life interest in it, or any other 
way you may choose to sell it. What payments would be necessary? 

I should like very well to visit you all this summer but I had concluded not to 
come on till next, when if I have my health, I shall be sure to come. It would be 
some pleasure to me to meet my old classmates at College,* but those are things I 
do not value so highly as formerly. I would value more spending the summer 
with you than any other way, and when I come on I intend to spend more time 
with you than when I was there before. My greatest anxiety is that life may be 
spared us to meet once more. 

We have good prospects for crops. The weather is now seasonable, good rains 
& fine showers. We have not had any very warm weather yet. I shall be very 
happy to have you write me without ceremony and often. You cannot be too 
particular in detailing family & neighborhood news. Tell my mother I still 



PART I: 1808-1829 91 

remember her, and give my respects to all enquiring Friends & believe me, as ever, 
your Son, 

E Fletcher 

^ A town on the Connecticut River, about 30 miles southeast of Ludlow. "After a short stay in Penn- 

sylvania, Calvin had made his way, mostly on foot, to the frontier settlement of Urbana, in western Ohio. He 
worked first as a hired hand, then taught school, and by the end of 181 7 he was reading law in the office of 
James Cooley (Jacob I'. Dunn, Greater Indianapolii [Chicago, 1910], If, 644). ^ This is the first refer- 

ence to Timothy in Lynchburg, where he was to make his home for over forty years. ** The tenth anni- 
versary of Elijah's graduation from the University of Vermont. 

Lynchburg 
Aug. 31st, 1820 
Dear Sir, 

With more than usual pleasure did I receive your last letter, for it had been 
some length of time that we had heard nothing from home. I have let but a few 
days elapse before I set down to answer it — not that I have any thing new to 
communicate, but that you may not think I am unmindful of you. We all enjoy 
much better health this year than last. Tim has most always been afflicted by some 
complaint or other, but this summer he has been perfectly free from disease. 
Calvin eats a good allowance, rather inclined to be fat. He thinks of returning to 
the Western Country some time first of Nov. next. He will get Licence to 
practice Law first.' I shall be sorry to part from him. 

We have had very warm and seasonable weather this summer. The Crops will 
turn out very abundant. Wheat brings but three shillings the bushel and I do not 
expect Corn will be much more than i/6. You was not very specific about selling 
your Farm and money matters. You state tho you could raise money from the 
Bank. Should you raise it from that source now and should be disposed any time 
hereafter to let me take it upon fair terms, I should have no objection. I should 
regret that the Farm should go out of the Family. I should take a pleasure of 
visiting you upon the spot where I was born and raised that I could not take any 
where else. But however, every one knows his own interest best, and I presume 
you will manage it for the best. 

I have not heard from Brother Michael this summer, from Miles, or from 
Lucy. I still have hopes that it will be in my power to visit you all next summer. 
It is a pleasure I shall not debar myself from, if in my power to effect it. Maria is 
now over at her mothers ; I shall go for her next Sunday. Calvin has written a 
sheet to put in this, I will therefore not be more lengthy. 

Tell my good mother that I have not forgotten her, give my respects to all 
Friend [s] and believe me, as ever, your Son, 

E Fletcher 

^Calvin wa3 admitted to the bar In the Supreme Court of Virginia in 1820. He returned to Urbana and 
became Cooley's law partner. On May i, 1821, he married Sarah Hill, a girl of 20, and in September they 
set out by ox-cart on a two-weeks' journey which brought them to Indianapolis, then a new village in the 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 92 

wilderness. Their great-grandson, Dr. Fletcher Hodges, has said that their first log cabin was on Washington 
Street, near the present State House. The first lawyer in the settlement, Calvin was appointed the first prosecu- 
tor in Marion County, Ind., at the first court session, Sept. 26, 1822. He continued in the ofiice for three 
terms (B. R. Sulgrove, History of Indianapolis and Marion County, Ind. [Philadelphia, 1884], p. 44). 

Lynchburg 
Nov. 14th, 1824 
Dear Sir, 

You have great reason to be surprised and I to be ashamed of myself for 
delaying so long to write you.^ But be assured it is not because I have thought of 
or respect you less than usual, for hardly a day passes over my head but I think of 
you all at home. I have intended for some time not only to write to enclose you 
some money, but I expect you have gotten to be so great a manager and economist 
of late you hardly stand in need of money. However, should you be in want of a 
little aid, I will cheerfully give it. You can write me on the subject. But let me 
ask after making my apologies for not writing: Why have you let the long 
summer pass off without sending me the scrip of your pen.' 

I have passed the summer off in good health and with as much prosperity as 
usual. We have had a fine bountiful season here in Crops. Wheat is worth 6o or 
70 cts., Corn 30 cts the Bushel. I am turning my attention somewhat to plantation 
business again. I have bought a good deal of Land in the course of the last year.^ 
I had to take back what I sold some years after the man I sold it to not being able 
to pay for it. The pressure of the times here for money continues to be very great 
and property continues very low. I have likewise increased the number of my 
slaves very much. I have found it necessary to take them in payment of debts, and 
I shall make it a point that their situation shall not be worsted by a change of 
masters. I intend to feed and clothe [them] well and treat them with humanity. 

I was much pleased at Calvin's making you a visit last summer. I intended to 
have done so myself but I found it [impossible.' ]. I should like to have you write 
me a statement of what will be due Henry at ist January next. If you have an 
opportunity, see if you could trade him a lot of manufactured Tobacco in 
discharge of it. I wish to try to discharge that debt in the course of the next 
year. 

I am happy to hear that Lucy, Lorana & Louisa are all situated so near 
together and are doing so well.^ It is a great pleasure for relations to live near 
each other. I would give anything if it were my happy lot to be situated close by 
you. I recvd by the last mail your newspaper and Governor's Speech. I expected 
Mr Spooner would have called on you last summer when in Vermont, but he 
wrote me his stay was so short at his Fathers he had not time. 

You must remember me affectionately to my mother, Fanny and Stoughton. 
Ask my mother whether the Flour last year was good and whether she wants any 
more for the next. 

Your Son 
E Fletcher 



PART I: 1808-1829 93 

Tim is well and hearty. Sidney and Lucian* are two healthy smart Boys. Sid 

frequently talks about going to see his GrandDadda, to get a colt and some sheep, 

and his grandmama to get some Cheese, and about little Stoughton. Maria 

likewise sends her love. 

I just recvd. a newspaper from Calvin giving an account of his being employed 

to defend a Criminal for killing the Indians. 

^ Letters written during the preceding four years are missing. ^ Property conveyances recorded in Am- 

herst County courthouse amply support this statement. During .Apr., May, and June of 1824, Elijah purchased 
almost 1,300 acres in the county, including land on Davis's Mountain, Long Mountain, and "over the cold 
mountain," later used as summer pastures for his cattle. AW were living in Newark, N.Y. Lucy and her 

husband, Dr. Richard P. Williams, had recently moved there from Bennington, Vt. i Laura (Lorana) married 
Dr. Cyrus Button, who was probably the first physician in Newark, having arrived there about 1820 (Colvin, 
op. ci/., pp. 18, 112). Louisa's marriage to Joseph A. Miller was the first to take place in Newark, and their 
son, Allen Miller, was the first child born in the village (G. W. Cowles, Landmarks of Wayne County 
[Syracuse, N.Y., 1S95], Part I, p. 368). Born in 1825, he lived less than a year (letter from Robert L. 
Hoeltzel, Feb. 10, 1964). Joseph Miller, Sr., a veteran of the War of 1812, came from Herkimer County and 
in May 1820, contracted to build 1 34 miles of the Erie Canal. He purchased too acres of land and laid out 
the nucleus of the community, sometimes called Miller's Basin (W. H. Mcintosh, History of Wayne County, 
Netv York [Philadelphia, 1877], p. 67). * These are the two sons of Elijah and Maria. Sidney was born 
June 16, 1S21, and Lucian on Jan. 1 1, 1824. 



Lynchburg 
January 27th, 1825 
Dear Sir, 

I received your letter some few mails ago. I regret that your mind seems so 
frequently overcast with melancholy forbodings and anticipations. I fear you 
indulge too much in gloomy reflections. To be sure you have led a life of Labor 
and hardships. You have raised a large Family and raised them respectably and 
very well for your opportunity, and you are now in the decline of your days. Still 
you are not so very old nor so ver)' destitute. Your children, tho somewhat 
scattered from you, are most all prosperous and doing well 5 and I hope your 
health, although at times bad, will be better and that you will live yet many 
years, a comfort to your Children and Friends and a comfort to yourself. As long 
as Elijah lives, it shall be only for you to say you want this or that and it shall be 
yours. 

Although it has not been convenient for me to visit )'ou lately, I hope yet to 
spend many days with you. I will make no appointment nor promises, but as soon 
as possible I shall certainly visit. I am as anxious to see you as you are to see me 
but I am somewhat more interested, I expect, in worldly matters at present than 
you are. I think of you all at home as often as you think of me. This mind must 
cease to think and this heart to beat ere I shall forget my native home, my 
Parents, my Brothers and Sisters. I should consider it one of the greatest 
blessings in the world if my lot had been cast nearer you. How often do I wish 
I could be present and minister unto you and assist you in your small wants and 
releave you of some of your burdens and cares. But Fates have ordered it 
otherwise and we must be reconciled to it. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 94 

I am left quite alone this winter. My wife went to Petersburg^ about middle of 
December and has not yet returned — took Lucian with her — and Sidney is over 
in Amherst with his Grandmother [Crawford at Tusculum] and Tim is likewise 
in Richmond, been there all the winter. He wrote me he saw Jabez Proctor 
there.^ He will send you on by Mr Proctor $50 and before he returns he will send 
you some Flour, so I hope you will cheer up and not despond but trust to 
providence for better times. Tim and I have lived together in great harmony, 
never have had the least unfriendly feelings, and been much comfort to each 
other. 

We have had here an abundant year and a pleasant winter. Corn has sold for 
30 cents the Bushel, oats at 25 cents. Cheese sells for 10 to 12 cents; Butter from 
the western parts of this state, which comes in in great quantities, for 10 to 12 
cents ; Pork from Kentucky and Ohio for $4 the hundred. So you see, we can get 
the necessaries of life very cheap. The Luxuries cost high, money remarkably 
scarce and great sacrifices made for to obtain it. A great trafic is carried on here by 
some, who are called Negro Traders, in buying slaves and carrying them to the 
western but principally to the Southern States — Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, 
Louisiana &c. Slaves are always a cash article, still not so high as they were 
several years ago. But of these things you do not feel much [blot] . I should like 
to hear from you often, much oftener than I have of late, and I will endeavour to 
be more punctual myself in writing. 

Farewell ! Give my Love to my Mother, to Fanny, and to Stoughton. 

Your Son 
E Fletcher 

^ Two of Maria's sisters, Henrietta Vannerson and Elizabeth Spooner, were apparently living In Petersburg. 
^ Jabez Proctor of Proctorsville, Vt., married Betsey Parker, a first cousin of the Fletchers and sister of Isaac 
Parker (Fletcher, op. cit., p. 127). 



To Jesse Fletcher from Timothy Fletcher 

Lynchburg 
5th April, 1825 
Dear Father, 

I am happy to inform you that I am well and have returned to Lynchburg; 
arived here 30th of March and found all well, was much pleased to meet your 
letter which gave me the pleasant news of your good health and the famelys. 
Likewise that you had Reed my two letters and the money and that [it] arived in 
a time when you wanted it most. I was absent from Lynchburg 4 Month [s] and 
injoyed good health the most part of the time and injoyed my Self much, lived 
well and paid my expences, did not leave any place without paying my bill. My 
expences were about $350 while I was gone but I made Some Speculation and 
made enough to pay all of my expences. 



PART I: 1808-1829 95 

We have had a grate deel of Rain in this part of the Country this winter, the 
Roads are very bad and high waters. I had to Swim 3 rivers from Richmond to 
Lynchburg, had to Swim the Stage acros and then take the horses out and Swim 
them back for the pasingers to get on and Swim acros. When the Stage was 4 
passingers besides my self and there was not one of them that dare venter first. 
So I mounted on my horse first and Swam him acros with out any dificulty and 
then the Rest of the passingers followed. 

Friday night and all daj- Saturday, that is the first and Second days of this 
month, it Snowed very hard; the Snow must have fallen at least 1 8 inches 
though it was moist and the ground So wet that a part of it melted. Sunday it was 
warm and the Snow melted fast. I am in hopes we Shall have fair weather after 
this. Peach trees have been bloon out this 3 week and vegatation is very forward 
and if we dont have any freezing weather it wont hurt the fruit any. Cotton, 
Tobacco and Negroes have Risen very much lately, So that it will help the 
planter out of debt, for they will get high prices for there Staple articles. Cotton 
iS^/i Cents per pound. Tobacco from 5 to 1 2 Dollars per hundred, which makes 
the planter feel Rich again. I bought you and marm 3 Barrells of the best Kind of 
Flour last February and Shiped it the 25th of the month to Hartford, paid the 
freight of it to Hartford, gave $6.50 per Barrell. I am in hopes you have heard 
from it before now; when \ou write you will Say wheather you have Reed it or 
heard from it. 

Since I commenced writing, Elijah Says he will put in One hundred dollars to 
Send to you to pay to Henry towards the debt you owe Henry that Elijah is to 
pay, and wants you to Send him a statemt of the debt and Intrest that will be due 
after you pay Henry this $100, for he intends paying the whole of it this Summer 
if he gits able. He wishes you to be particular to Send a correct Statement So he 
will be able to Send the correct amount. You can get a Statement of Henry when 
you pay the money to him and forward it to Elijah by letter amediately. I expect 
you to write Brother E or my Self oftener than you have heretofore. I dont 
expect that Brother E or my Self will be able to visit the North this Summer but 
if we live we Shall next. 

I hope Marm will take Some pleasure in Eating Some good Cakes out of the 
Flour I Send her and I wish I could be with you to help you Eate Some. I am 
gitting more and more anxious to visit you. I want to Sea Brother Stoughten, 
you, marm, and Fanny; I want to Sea Sister Lucy, Lorana, and Louisa; I want to 
Sea you all. I must visit you another year if I live. I must make as much money as 
I can this year. So as to take a trip to the North next \'ear. Brother E is very 
anxious to visit you but it is dificult for him to leave his family and business. He is 
in good health, has got 2 [of] the finest little boys you ever Saw. I love them 
very much. Since I returned from Richmond I have horded with E, but being So 
much in the habit of boarding at a public house I think I Shant board with him. I 
Shall go to a tavern to board. I can git the first rate of board for $ 1 50 per year. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 96 

Remember me to Jabez Proctor and his wife and Say to marm, Fanny, 

Stoughton that I have not forgotten them, nor neather Shall I So long as I live. 

I Shall write you again before long and Shall expect you to write me every 

oportunity. I got a letter from Calvin yesterday. He was well and doing well. I 

dont hear any thing from Miles nor Michael nor Jesse. I hope they are all well 

and doing well. 

I think I must Close. You will believe me your most affectionate and dutiful 

Son, 

Fare well, 
Timothy Fletcher 



Lynchburg 
July 23, 1825 
Dear Sir, 

I sometime since received your letter and have been as dilatory as usual in 
answering it. I am getting into bad habits in being careless in writing my Friends, 
but the more tardy I am in writing, the more thoughtful I am of you, and hardly 
a day passes over my head but I am chiding and condemning myself for not 
writing. 

You say you want to know what I am about. Like the way of the world, as I 
grow older and perhaps richer, my business, my cares and concerns, and of course 
troubles, increase. I have a plantation settled with negroes and overseer and 
cultivate Tobacco, wheat &c. This Plantation is more than 20 miles off.' I have 
five other tracts of Land which I rent out. I got this property cheap, had to take 
some of it in payment of debts, as this country has been very much embarrassed 
and money has been very scarce. 

I own another species of property at which you will be somewhat surprised. I 
own a frinting establishment, called The Virginian.^ This was the first paper that 
advocated Mr. Adams in this State, and had such influence as to make Adams 
very popular in this part of the State. It has a large circulation and is a profitable 
establishment. I will send you a paper hereafter, if you will take any pleasure in 
reading it. The young man who is connected with me attends principally to the 
business.'' I own the whole Establishment and he has a share of the profits for 
conducting it. This Establishment was first owned by Mr Pleasants,* the son of 
the present Governor of this State,* and I took it of him in payment of a debt. He 
now edits a paper in Richmond called the Whig. He is a great advocate of Mr. 
Adams, and the people hereabouts are very well satisfied with his Election. As to 
myself, I very much admire Mr Crawford" but for various political (not private) 
reasons, much preferred Mr Adams for President. 

From this you will see a little what I am about. You must make no certain 
calculations when to see me. I shall make no appointments or promises. I want to 



PART I: IS OS- 1829 97 

see you all as much as you want to see me, and either myself or Tim will be sure 
to visit you within a year. Tim is getting very anxious to go home and see you. 

A son of Mrs. Billards died here a few days ago. He had been consumptive for 
several years. He had been living with Johnathan Patten.' He had no property. 
We have had a seasonable Spring and summer and a general time of health. I 
had a Negro Boy about ten or 1 2 years old die last week. He had been sick some 
time. Such a Boy is worth in case from $350 to $400. This kind of property is now 
rising. The great demand for them in the south for making cotton and the 
improvement in Tobacco here will make money more plenty and property will 
rise. 

I want you to write me as often as you can. Give my respects to Mother and all 
and believe me, as ever, your Son, 

E Fletcher 

Tim has sent his mother by Jabez Parker' (who is a-going to visit Vermont this 
summer) a half Dozen large Silver table spoons; they cost about $25. 

^ This must have been one of the larger tracts which Elijah purchased In 1824. ^ The new ownership of 
the Virginian, "printed and published by Elijah Fletcher and Richard H. Toler, publishers of the Laws of the 
Union," was announced to its readers on Friday, Jan. 21, 1825 (see Appendix VI). ^ This was Richard H. 

Toler (1799—1848), born In Hanover County, Virginia, who was later described as "one of the god-fathers 
of the present Whig party." He was publisher of the Virginian from Dec. 1823 to Jan. 1825, when Elijah 
Fletcher joined him as owner and publisher; Toler edited the paper until 1846 (Lester J. Cappon, Virginia 
Newspapers, iSzi—igjs [New York, 1936], p. 123). * In Sept. 1820, John Hampden Pleasants (1797- 
1848) became the publisher of the Lynchburg Press, which had been established in 1809. Pleasants and Mar- 
cellus Smith operated the paper from Apr. 1821, to Jan. 1822, when It absorbed the Lynchburg Ga-x.ette. In 
Aug. of that year, under the management of Pleasants, Butler & Co., the name was changed to the Virginian, 
which In 1827 became the Lynchburg Virginian. Pleasants and Butler moved to Richmond In 1824 to estab- 
lish the Constitutional Whig (later the Whig) which Pleasants edited until 1846, when he died of injuries 
sustained In a duel. He was succeeded by Richard H. Toler (Cappon, op. cit., pp. 121, 123, 193). ^ James 

Pleasants (1769-1836), a cousin of Thomas Jefferson, served In the U.S. Senate for three years, 1819-22, 
when he resigned to become governor of Virginia, 1822-25 {D.A.B., XV, 6—7). ^William Harris Craw- 

ford was a candidate for the presidency in 1824 and made a strong showing In spite of having been stricken 
with paralysis during the campaign. By this time, Patten seems to have moved to Lynchburg from New 

Glasgow. For many weeks, the following advertisement was carried in the columns of the Virginian: "Cash 
for Wheat. The subscriber will give the highest market price for wheat. J. T. Patten. October 29 [1824]." 
A distant cousin, Roxana Fletcher (b.1789) married Jabez Parker In 1812. They moved to Richmond about 
1815, where Parker became a merchant (Fletcher, op. cit., p. 196). 



Lynchburg 
Novemb. 7, 1825 
Dear Sir, 

I do not know how I can spend a few moments more pleasantly than 
conversing a little with you. I was much gratified a short time since to receive 
your letter. You seem to write in better spirits than usual and I hope all things 
are going on well with you. I was astonished to hear of N P F's taking flight.^ I 
should have supposed he had better sense, if not better principle, than to have 
exposed himself to the penalties of the Law. You will gratify my curiosity by 
naming particulars. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 98 

You say Jabez Parker informed you that I wished to sell out my Virgiman. 
That is not the fact. I have had frequent offers for a part of it but have declined 
accepting them. The whole Establishment, with between 4 & 5000 dollars worth 
of Debts, cost me only $2000. 1 have been offered $2000 for one half the 
Establishment without the Debts, which I refused. It is not only an agreeable 
employment but I find it profitable — about 15 hundred subscribers at from $3 to 
$4 a piece." The advertising and job work will support the Establishment 
and the subscription money ought to be clear money. The Establishment cost the 
Persons I got it from $10,000 without debts. I hope you get your paper 
regularly. When I bought it there was another Paper printed in this place, which 
is now discontinued,^ and I have the business all to myself. I have not yet sent a 
paper to any of my relations but you and Calvin. 

I enclose in this a $20 note, Ten of it for mother to buy her some winter 
clothing, and Five for you and five for Fanny. I hope our mother was pleased 
with the Silver Spoons Tim sent her. 

You will perceive from the [papers] more of our domestic situation in this 
country than I could describe to you otherwise. I need not detail them in a letter. 
I have had a good deal of sickness in my Family this fall but with the exception 
of the death of three small negroes — one about 1 2 years old the other two about 2 
years old — all have recovered, or nearly so. Tim and myself enjoy fine health. 
You must write to me often and not always wait for me to write before you 
answer my letters, for you have always a thousand things to communicate to me 
which would interest, while I have only to tell you that I am well and my two 
little Boys, and that we have now a little daughter about 2 months old.'* So you 
may expect that I shall have a large Family yet and extend and perpetuate your 
name in this distant country from you. 

You must give my Love and Respect to all enquiring Friends and reserve for 
yourself my best heartfelt wishes for your health, happiness, and prosperity. 

Your Son, 
E Fletcher 

^ why he left Ludlow is not known, but Nathan went first to Hadley, Mass., where he remained until 1830, 
then to Ohio, and eventually to IVIichifran, where he died (Fletcher, op. ci/., p. 143). "Subscription rates 

for the Virginian were $4.00 per year for the semiweekly edition and $3.00 for the weekly. ^ Probably a 

semiweekly, the Lynchburg Herald, a non-partisan paper established by Achilles D. Johnson. It came into 
being and perished in 1824 (Cappon, op. cit., p. 119). * Laura Fletcher was born Sept. 2, 1825. 



Lynchburg 
Apr. 3d, 1826 
Dear Sir, 

Tim sent sometime ago two Blls of Flour by way of Hartford to you, which I 
hope will reach you in time for Mothers summer cakes. Grain is rather scarce 
here this year. The last years crops were small. Corn is worth about 4/6 and rye 
the same, Wheat from 4/6 to s/^, and good family Flour from $5 to 6. 



PART I: 1808-1829 99 

Tim or myself will be sure to visit you this summer. We cannot both leave 
home at once. I rather expect it will be Tim. Perhaps my wife will come on too, 
as she is anxious to tra\'el a little this summer. I should like very much to come on 
myself but suppose I must give way to Tim, as I was on last. It shall not, 
however, be long before I visit you. I do not remember whether I have written to 
you since we had the misfortune to loose our youngest child [Laura] . She was 
about five months old at the time of her death. Our two boys are hearty fine 
fellows. They, with their mother, have now gone over to Amherst on a visit to 
Mrs Crawford. 

We have had a colder winter than common. The spring however came early. 
Our fruit trees began to bloom the last of February. Tim and myself enjoy good 
health and prosperity, tho I had much sickness in my family and met with some 
losses last year. Four of my negroes died — one negroe Boy about 1 2 and three 
negroe children.^ There was a good deal sickness in this place last fall and there 
has likewise been a good deal here this winter, such as influenza, bad colds, &c. I 
need not say any thing to you about politicks, as you now read our paper and see 
how these things are going on here. There seems to be pretty stormy time in 
Congress this winter. Mr Adams must act with much wisdom and prudence to get 
along, as his enemies are doing every thing to throw obstacles in his way.^ 

I have not recvd any letters from any of my Brothers of late. I expect they are 
all doing well. I suppose Stoughton has gotten to be a man by this time and is 
great assistance to you in your work. Is he a good boy to learn his Book? 

Give my best respects to all and believe me without alteration. 

Your affectionate son, 
E Fletcher 

^ That Elijah was not entirely at ease in the role of slaveowner is indicated by his election as secretary 
pro tern of the Lynchburg Auxiliary Colonization Society, Aug. 26, 1826. Its aim was to promote "the re- 
moval to the Coast of Africa, with their own consent, of such people of color within the United States as are 
already free, and of such others as the humanity of individuals or the laws of the different States shall here- 
after liberate" {Virginian, Aug. 31, 1826, p. 3). "John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), elected by the 
House of Representatives in 1824, served one term in office and was defeated by Andrew Jackson in 1828. 



Lynchburg 
June 9, 1827 
Dear Sir, 

I expect you will again begin to chide me for neglecting to write you. I have 
tho' nothing new to tell you and as long as you receive my newspaper twice a 
week, they will be to you an evidence of my being alive. In fact I have, as well as 
all my family, for a year past enjoyed very good health. Our Spring has been a 
forward one, tho the month of May was quite cold and wet. We have yet had no 
warm or summer weather. The crops look very well and fruit will be very 
abundant. 

I have some idea of trying to visit you this summer. If I come I shall start in 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 100 

July, perhaps about the middle, and pay you a good long visit. I shall not expect 
to get back here before the last of September. If I come I expect my wife will 
come with me. I am afraid I shall not be able to bring our two little boys, for it 
will be much more agreeable to travel unencumbered with Servants and children 
in the Steam boats & stages, but I should take a great deal of pleasure to bring the 
little boys. They are very sprightly and you would be much pleased to see them. 

Calvin proposes that he and Miles and I shall send our three oldest boys to the 
north to go to school. I have written him as soon as they are twelve years old I 
would send them to you to learn them to work three or four years. I have told 
Sidney when he gets to be 1 1 or 1 2 years old he has got to go and plough for his 
Grandfather, and he seems to be very well pleased with the idea. I consider it an 
essential part of a Boys education to learn to work. 

If I conclude to come on this summer, I will write you again before I start. I 
got a letter from Jesse by the last mail ; he still lives in New Jersey. I have 
nothing more to write now, so farewell. 

Your Son, 
E Fletcher 



Lynchburg 

Aug. 22, 1827 

Dear Sir, 

I expect you little calculated to see me this summer but I have concluded to 
start tomorrow on a short visit to you. My wife will accompany me. We leave 
the children behind. Enclosed is $10 for my mother. We shall travel by Steam 
boats and stages, being the most expeditious and convenient way. 

E Fletcher 



Lynchburg 
October 4, 1827 
Dear Sir, 

I expect you will feel some little anxiety to hear from [me] knowing I had so 
many perils by Land and perils by Sea to encounter before I could arrive 
home. 

I passed on to Boston from Ludlow without any delay or accident and stayed 
there one day. I was disappointed in not seeing Mrs Webster,^ as she and her 
husband and family were absent from home about 60 miles on the bay shore, 
where they had gone for health. I left Boston Wednesday morning for 
Providence. It rained incessantly all the way and we stayed there one day. 
Started the next day in the Steam boat, got down to Newport and it was so 
tempestuous the captain would not venture out to sea. We stayed there till the 



PART I: 1808-1829 101 

next day, when we started, and going round point Judith" to get into the sound 
the waves were so rough that it made all on board very sick. We arrived at N. 
York the next day. Stayed there four days; then to Philadelphia, stayed one day; 
thence to Baltimore and stayed one day ; thence to Washington and stayed one 
day; thence to Fredericksburg and Charlottesville and to N Glasgow, where we 
arrived last Wednesday and found the children well and very glad to see us. I 
left Maria there and came home and found Tim and all well and I believe all 
things have gone on very well since I left home. So I have had a long and 
somewhat fatiguing journey which has cost a good deal of money but the 
pleasure of seeing you all and finding you in good health and all doing well is 
quite a satisfactory compensation for the time, labor, and expense. Miles met me 
in N York.^ He had not seen or heard from Michael since his return. 

I enclose you ten dollars as I promised you when I left you. I am glad to think 
you are managing and doing much better than [youi' ] thought you was when I 
was at home before. My fervent prayer is that you may all live in peace and 
harmony and prosperity. Mother and Fanny and Stoughton are kindly 
remembered by me. 

Yours, 
E Fletcher 

^ Mrs. Daniel Webster was Elijah's first cousin, Grace Fletcher, the daughter of Jesse's brother Elijah. 
Born in 1781, she was married in 1808 and died in 1828. ^ Point Judith, at the southwestern tip of 

Narragansett Bay, separates the Bay from Long Island Sound. ^ Miles had apparently been living for 

some years in Marlboro, a port on the Hudson River in Ulster County, N.Y., a few miles above Newburgh. 



Lynchburg 
August 3d, 1828 
Dear Calvin, 

It is Sunday and very hot.' Tim and Maria are asleep. Sidney and Lucian are at 
play with some neighboring boys, after having been at the Sunday School." I 
have been writing most all day. Do not feel in the best spirits but think I will try 
to write you a short epistle. Our little babies, in describing the rest of the family, I 
did not say anything about. They are both very hearty and well children.^ We 
have not yet decided upon any names for them. Sometimes Maria talks of calling 
one Elijah and the other Maria Antoinette but then again she will call them 
something else. Names are a matter of little consequence, a short name suits me 
best. I intended to have written to Father today but have not. I have reed no 
letter from him for a long time. 

I reed your Indianapolis paper last night that contained your candidates 
speeches at Indianapolis. I think your Governor Ray has heretofore deceived you 
all.* He must be a desperate poltroon, and I think his late conduct has sealed his 
fate for life or at least it ought to damn him everlastingly. I fear this affair will 
operate to the injury of the good cause of the Administration and that the 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 102 

Jacksonian candidate for Governor may succeed by this division. We ought to 
unite all our strength to insure success. By dividing we may be conquered. Many 
people calculate here as elsewhere, as you see from the news paper calculations, 
that Indiana will go for Jackson. However I have yet no fear of that state. But I 
fear it will be altogether a close contest. I wait with great anxiety to learn the 
event of the Kentucky Election. That will have great effect upon many other 
wavering states. 

Sunday Aug. lo 

Since writing the above I have recvd your letter, the news of the Louisiana 
Election, too, which has inspired us with new confidence, and we still hope to 
hear good news from the Kentuck Election which is now over. You speak again 
of being tired of the political life and your views upon the subject are prudent 
and correct, but you cannot back out at present.^ You will see perhaps before long 
a favorable opportunity to retire. If so [it.? ] may be well enough. Of this I will 
write you more fully. 

I congratulate you on your prospect of raising so fine a regiment of soldiers.^ 
From the description you give of your second Boy, he must be like our Lucian — a 
headstrong, unmanageable fellow. Our two youngest Maria concludes to name 
one after herself and the other after me.^ Tim never writes to any body. He 
enjoys perfect health. He now manages in the Printing office,^ in the financial 
affairs and makes a first rate hand to keep good order among the hands and 
apprentices. He plays the tyrant with them. They all stand in great fear of him. 
Tim is a thorough-going business man at any thing he undertakes. 

Maria has gotten herself a fine Barouche from Philadelphia, and I was very 
fortunate in purchasing an elegant match of iron grey horses for her carriage 
upon moderate terms, $175 for both. I have spent a heap of money in the course 
of the last year or two in improving my house and lot" and making it one of the 
most convenient and handsome in this place, in [illegible] &c, but have got most 
through of spending now and must work a little harder to make up the loss. I 
have thought, should I [live? ] I would work and try to accumulate till I was 
muster [free? ] at 45 and then quit, but there is no knowing when I shall be 
satisfied. You have before this reed a letter from me which I wrote you 
immediately after receiving yours on your return from Kentucky. You must 
write me as often as you have leisure. 

Give my love to your wife and little Boys and believe me, as ever, your 
Brother, 

E Fletcher 

^ This is the first of Elijah's letters to Calvin which have been preserved in the State Historical Library of 
Indiana. ^ On Aug. 24, 1826, the Virginian reported: "A public meeting will be held in St. Paul's 

Church this afternoon for the purpose of organizing a Society to support a Sunday School in said Church." In 
another account of this meeting, Mrs. Elijah Fletcher wnr among those mentioned (Christian, op. cit., p. 73). 
^The twins were bom March 10, 1828. * James Brown Ray (1794— 1848) became acting governor of 



PART I: 180S-1829 103 

Indiana In 1825, when Gov. William Hendricks resigned to enter the U.S. Senate. A popular and influential 
politician, Ray was elected governor in Aug. 1825, and again three years later (William W. Woollen, 
Biographical and Historical Sketches of Early Indiajia [Indianapolis, 1883], p. 57). He signed Calvin 
Fletcher's commission, in 1825, as state's attorney for the fifth judicial circuit, covering from twelve to fifteen 
counties (Dunn, op. dt.j II, 644). (For information about Governor Ray's conflict with Calvin Fletcher, see 
Appendix VII.) ^Calvin Fletcher was elected a state senator in 1826, 1828, and 1831. He resigned his 

seat Jan. 26, 1833 (Dorothy Riker and Gayle Thornbrough, comps., Indiana Election Returns, 1816—1851 
[Indianapolis, i960], Indiana Historical Collections, XL, 218). ^ The first four of Calvin's eleven chil- 

dren (nine sons and two daughters) were: James Cooley, b. Apr. 15, 1823; Elijah Timothy, b. Aug. 21, i824i 
Calvin, b. Sept. 30, i826i Miles Johnson, b. June 15, 1828. ^ This is the last mention of the twins; 
apparently the boy died soon thereafter. The girl was named Indiana, probably In deference to Calvin's 
adopted state. ® Timothy's occupation is specified here for the first time. ® In 1826 Elijah purchased 

an acre of land, or two lots, on First or Lynch Street, with the house which he and his family were then 
occupying, for $3,500 (Lynchburg Deed Book, vol. H, 466). A description of his home, overlooking the 
James River, was gained in a conversation in 1954 with a grand-daughter of Patrick Henr>-, Miss Elvira 
(Ella) Henry Miller of Lynchburg, who was remarkably alert at nearly 104. Her father, William A. Miller, 
bought the property in i860 from Indiana Fletcher, who had Inherited it from her father. It Is not known 
whether the Millers had previously rented and occupied the house. Miss Miller described it as a two-story red 
brick house, with a central hall and a room opening on each side. At the back was a single story, with smaller 
rooms including one which she said they always called "the office," with a separate entrance at the side. A 
long porch extended across the back of the house, and there were a number of outbuildings in the yard. The 
property, which Included an adjoining lot, was surrounded by a brick wall with an undulating top on which 
small boys used to love to run up and down. She recalled that the big yard contained many fine trees, said to 
have been planted by Mr. Fletcher, Including English walnuts, a beautiful fir of some kind, mimosas, willows, 
and tree box. Miss Miller did not know any of the Fletchers, as they had left Lynchburg when she was a 
child. Her father sold the house in 1876 (Lynchburg Deed Book, vol. CC, 10, 514). 



Lynchburg 
Nov. 10, 1828 
Dear Sir, 

When did I write you last.^ So long ago that I expect you will think now I 
have begun a letter you deserve a long one. Tim recvd some time ago your letter 
and we were much pleased to hear of your health and continued prosperity. I was 
glad to see you wrote in pretty good spirits and not so desponding as sometimes 
you write. I have been intending a long while to write but I thought it would be 
best to defer it untill I could enclose something to pay the postage. 

You will remember when I left you more than twelve months ago I promised 
to send you a present this fall. I now enclose it. Part of it is to pay the interest on 
Henrys debt, the balance is for yourself. I hope it will not be unacceptable. 
Money is very scarce with us here but we scuffle along as usual. I do not prize 
money as highly as I did formerly. Farther than procuring the common 
necessaries and conveniencies of life, it adds little to our happiness or comfort. 
Still I am as busy and industrious as ever, for I think we are all better off with 
something to do than leading a life of inactivity and idleness. 

I have not heard lately from any of our family. Calvin is a very punctual 
correspondent and I am much pleased to hear from him. He writes long and 
minutely. He seemed much interested in the Presidential Election. Miles is quite 
short in his correspondence. He seems to pride himself on differing from his 
relations in politics. It is well enough that he should agree with his neighbors and 
customers, as he does not feel a deep interest in politics. The Election here has 
just passed. We have had a hard heat, and I expect very probably shall be 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 104 

defeated. I consider Jacksons prospects at present better than Adams. New 
York is not true to herself I fear j I expect she will go for Jackson and if she does 
he must certainly be elected.^ We have all been pretty animated and warm in 
politics in this place but it has not entered into our social circles. I am as intimate 
and friendly with those differing from me as those agreeing with me. I do not 
know but few personal differences here on account of politics. 

Maria and Sidney and the little girl' took a ride out of town this evening to 
one of her Aunts and will stay all night. Lucian stays with me and is now 
constantly talking to me and interrupting me. He is very fond of my telling him 
about Grandpa and what I used to do when I was a little boy. I have to tell him 
long stories about my youthful exploits. Tim talks of visiting you all next 
summer and I expect he will be sure to do it. He has not been sick a day this 
summer. His health is much better than it used to be. He says he will try and 
send his Mother some Flour but this article is rising so rapidly and becoming so 
dear we shall have to make our Cakes thin. I have had one or two letters from 
Jesse and I expect from all circumstances he is probably doing pretty well. You 
must write me as soon as you receive this letter of mine and let me know if the 
twenty dollars comes safe. You must not be quite so ceremonious and neglect to 
write me because I am sometimes dilatory in writing. I expect my papers which 
you get will answer instead of letters and will come cheaper and you know you do 
not take much to pay postage. 

[From Timothy:] 

This letter was dated in November but this is Deer 3d. E and family are in 
good health, Except his little children have the measels but are doing pretty 
well. My health is good. We have some Cold weather and frost. You have a 
good cause to complain of me for not writing you oftner, but you must excuse this 
time and I will do better for the future. I have had so much to do latterly that I 
have not had time to pay that respect to my parents that was due them. E and my 
Self will feel very anxious to git an answer to this letter, we want to hear from 
you often. If I have my health I certainly will visit you next Summer. I did 
intend to have done so this, but business prevented. I shall write you shortly 
again. I have no recollection of your ever gitting any Sheep from Proctors or E 
ever having any while I lived with them. 

My most effectionate respect to my dear mother, your Self, Sister Fanny, 
Stoughton, and may your life be preserved. Fare well. Your effectionate Son, 

Timothy Fletcher 

^ Although the final results had not been determined at this date, John Quincy Adams was defeated by 
Andrew Jackson (1767— 1845), who was swept Into office by a rising tide from the West which favored "Old 
Hickory" and a liberal land policy. ^ This is the surviving twin, Indiana. 



PART I: 1808-1829 105 

Lynchburg 
May 25, 1829 
Dear Sir, 

I expect you have been for some time expecting to hear from me. I am afraid 
you will find the same cause to complain of my laziness in writing that you have 
heretofore. I have delayed writing some time, expecting that I could tell you 
certainly when Timo was to start but he has not yet determined when he will go. 
I think probably not till sometime in July. I ordered sometime ago Mr Parker to 
forward two Barrels of Flour from Richmond to mother. It is now on the way 
and you will be able to get it in a short time. 

I do not know whether Calvin has determined to visit you this summer or not. 
I heard from him sometime ago. He was then doubtful about it. He wrote me 
that he had become a Methodist and joined the church.' This is an uncommon 
circumstance with one of your Boys, and the first one that ever pretended to any 
thing like religion. It is very well if he sincerely thinks so and I doubt not [will] 
have a tendency to advance rather than retard his worldly prosperity. But this is 
a matter entirely with him and no one will have any right to complain but his 
mother, who may think he ought to have had sense enough to have joined the 
Babtists instead of the Methodists. I do not hear from Miles or any of the other 
Boys, whether they intend to visit you or not. I hope some of them will find It 
convenient to do so. 

My Family have been all well this past winter and spring. I have had myself a 
very bad cold of late but I am now getting well of it. The little Boys go to school. 
They talk much about coming on to the North with their uncle Tim, but they are 
yet most too small to take such a Trip. Next time I come on, I shall bring them. 
Our little girl is beginning to run about and chatter very sprightly. 

We shall have an abundant crop of fruit this year. Peaches, apples, and 
cherries in great plenty. We have been for some time eating green peas here and 
strawberries are getting ripe but every thing is much later this spring than usual. 
I am sorry to see any of the New England States worshipping Jackson — New 
Hampshire &c. Such people are fit for nothing but slaves. If the northern states 
have not sense to stick together and protect their own interest, they ought to 
suffer and they will. 

As soon as I ascertain certainly when Tim will start, I shall write you. I do 
not expect it will be till after the middle of July. It will be a better time then to 
leave this warm climate and go to the north. 

You must give my respects to Mother, Fanny, Stoughton, and all, and believe 
me as ever yours, 

E Fletcher 

^ Substantiation of his religious affiliation is found in the excerpts from Calvin Fletcher's diary which appear 
in Appendix VII. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 106 

Lynchburg 
Aug. 2nd, 1829 
Dear Sir, 

Calvin arrived here Tuesday the 14th July and left us Monday morning after 
the 19th, staying 5 days.^ He seemed very impatient to get home but still, I 
believe, well pleased with his trip and glad that he had taken it. He said he felt 
better than he had for four years, had a good appetite and in good spirits. From 
what I could learn I expect, what with ill health, the methodist and the cares of 
his family and complicated business, he had [illegible] become much dejected 
and low-spirited before he undertook this trip. I hope, though his absence may 
have somewhat interfered with his business, it will ultimately be advantageous to 
him. 

I was pleased to hear from him that you were all doing so well at home. He 
seemed to think your health as good and your mind as vigorous as when he was at 
home before. He says likewise that Stoughton is an industrious, prudent young 
man, and one he thinks dependence can be put in. But he says you are still little in 
debt and brought some proposition from Stoughton for me to furnish money to 
pay off all your debts and let Stoughton try to manage so as to support the 
Family, improve the Farm and make something for himself. He thinks the debts 
at the utmost extent do not amount to more than $ 1 50. 

I have always thought upon such a Farm, with tolerable management, money 
might be made. You need to be now at no expense, you have no children to 
educate and buy fine cloths for. In fact, except for a little tea and snuff for our 
mother and a little good West India for yourself, your expenses must be 
comparatively nothing. If Stoughton has any turn for economy and 
management, with your advise and assistance, it seems to me he might do well. 
Should you approve of the plan Calvin suggested, that I should advance money 
to set you once more even with the world and take for an indemnity the balance 
of the Stock, that Tim does not consider belongs to him from the Cows he left 
with you, and the small house next to Mr Smith's, I have no objection to enter 
into such an arrangement. Stoughton could then every fall have one or two good 
yoke of oxen to sell, one or two cows, one horse and some sheep, besides grain &c. 
He could make some wool every year. He could plant out some sugar maple 
trees along the road^ and improve the Farm, at the same time save two hundred 
dollars every year. 

You are very timid and perhaps will say that I am visionary. But I know it can 
be done if Stoughton has the least turn for any such thing. I know I could do it 
and should not want any easier task, and support you and mother handsomely 
into the bargain. I feel great solicitude that some permanent arrangement should 
be made, whereby your mind might be undisturbed and your latter days — which 
with prudence still may be many — may pass away happily. If you have confidence 
in Stoughton to undertake the management of affairs, you can show him this 
letter and we will enter into arrangements about this business. You must send a 



PART I: 1808-1829 107 

list of every debt you owe and the money shall be forthwith remitted. If I have 
a convenient opportunity of sending Henrys money, I want to pay off the whole 
of that debt. If you see him, ask him if a check on N York Bank will answer. 

You will see from this that Timo. will not visit you this summer. After Calvin 
got here and gave us all the news about you, we thought it would be best for Tim 
to stay till next summer before he made his visit, and save the money he would 
expend to enter into the arrangement of paying your debts. He will be sure to 
come next summer if he lives, when perhaps none of the rest of your children will 
visit you. I expect you have got the Flour before this time. Parker did not send it 
on so soon as he promised, but it has been gone from Richmond a good while. I 
shall expect to hear from you as soon as you get this letter. 

Your Son, 
E Fletcher 

^ This was Calvin's second visit to Lynchburg, the first having taken place In 1820. - *'It was In Stough- 

ton's childhood, about 1822 [he was born In 1808] that the maples that line the highway at the old home- 
stead were set out. These are two hundred in number and form the finest avenue of any artificial tree setting 
in town." So says Joseph N. Harris (in The History of Ludlow, pp. 78—79), but it hardly seems possible that 
Elijah would have failed to notice these trees on his visit to the old home In 1827, or that he would have 
continued to urge the planting of sugar maples In subsequent letters. They were eventually planted, however, 
and for more than a century they doubtless merited Mr. Harris' appraisal. In Sept. 1963, Miss Fanny Fletcher 
[a granddaughter of Stoughton] wrote that *'so many of the maples Jesse and his sons planted are dead and 
those I began planting to replace them years ago also do not thrive. There is a disease the University of 
Vermont Is studying; also winter highways are kept open by ... a salt that is tree poison. At this very 
moment I am disturbed by a chain saw that Is making fire wood out of Jesse's dead maples." 



Lynchburg 
Sept. 28, 1829 
Dear Sir, 

Tim received your letter some short time past and I received one a few days 
afterwards. We have concluded to loan Stoughton some money this 
fall. Supposing you will have no objection if he pays off your debts.' It will be sent 
some time between this and the ist of November. We are all well. I need say no 
more now. 

E Fletcher 

^Thls sentence was crossed out in the letter. 



To Stoughton Fletcher 

Lynchburg 
Nov. 1, 1829 
Dear Brother, 

To redeem a promise made in a letter to my Father some short time ago, I 
have enclosed you the within. I hope it will pay every thing that may be due and 
leave a remnant. I could advise you as a young man and a new beginner never to 
run in debt. Rather suffer for the want till you get able to pay the money. You 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 108 

must take good care of this. It may be the last I shall ever have it in my power to 
send home. And I am confident you will never want more if you have your 
health. I think with good management you can support your Father and mother, 
improve the Farm and lay up something every year for yourself. I could make 
myself rich off such a Farm with your advantages in a few years. You will have 
no expenses to incur j your Father and mother will throw every thing in your way 
and no doubt give you every thing made for your filial fidelity in staying with 
them to protect them in their old age. Out of this hundred and fifty dollars you 
must pay the interest due to Henry. I intend to pay off all that debt in the course 
of a year. I am tired paying interest. As soon as you receive this, you will write me 
and after paying Henry his interest, give me your Bond for the balance. 

Will you ask Father, if it would not be much trouble, to send me a statement of 
all the money I have sent home to him or any of the family since I first left him. 
I never have kept any account and it is merely an idle whim of mine that induces 
me to wish this. It has not been much that I have been able to assist him. I wish 
it had been in my power to have done more for him and for you all. But when I 
commenced the world, I commenced poorer than you are and it has been alone by 
care and saving that I have got whatever little I possess. I have many a time gone 
without my dinner to save an eighteen pence. I never spent much in clothing, 
none in drinking and frolicking. I have long found that a man is not respected for 
his fine clothes. The most trifling can procure them. But a manly, upright, honest 
course in all your dealings and in all your intercourse with your neighbors and 
those with whom you have business to transact will alone secure lasting respect 
and esteem. You will find it is not so difficult a matter to make money as to save 
it. If you make a little, spend less; never let your outgoes exceed your income. 

I hope our mother received her flour in good time that was sent her last 
summer from Richmond. We are all well. Sidney and Lucian talk much about 
coming to Vermont and help you work. Lucian wants a pair of Steers and a cart 
or sled to work them with. If Tim comes on next summer perhaps I shall let 
Sidney come with him. 

Give my respects to all, and believe me Your Friend & Brother, 

E. Fletcher 



PART II 1830-1858 



Lynchburg 
March 19, 1830 
Dear Brother, 

I recvd yours enclosing $50 for Simmons by the last mail.^ I had previously 
lent him $50 on the Faith of your letter, as he represented himself in great 
distress for the money. Simmons is an honest man, but [hard and scuffling? ] to 
pay his debts. He thought so much of your making any part of the debt out of 
Neighbors, he imagines \'ou can make debts out of any body. He tells a long story 
to every body that will listen to him, detailing the wonderful events of this 
lawsuit. 

You never said any thing to me what you did with the Bond against Douglas 
in Cincinnati as you went out last summer. I wish you, as I told you before, 
whenever you get that money from Kentucky, to invest it in your State in any 
way you may think best, imless you may want the use of some of it yourself. 
Should you wish this, it will be at your service. 

Tim has made up his mind to go on to Vermont next May. I rather expect 
Sidney will go with him and perhaps stay a year. Lucian says he does not exactly 
like his uncle Calvin, for he told him he ought to black his own shoes, and he says 
he is no negro to do such work. Lucian is smart in every thing but his books ; he 
does not learn fast. He says his Schoolmaster has whipped out one jacket and he 
will make him get another for him. 

When you go or send to Louisville, you must get a Ret. for the share of Bridge 
Stock from Cocke. Had not Tim determined to visit the north this summer, I 
think I should have gone to the West, but both of us cannot leave home at once, 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 112 

of course. I must put off my trip another year. Mr Toler has for the last four 
months been very attentive and steady, and I could venture to leave if Tim was 
here. I have not heard from home for some time or from any of our Brothers. I 
believe I shall have to send on two or three barrels of Flour to Father, as he said 
in one of his letters that he was an old Pensioner that would soon be off the 
pension list. 

I got a long letter from Dr Williams" a short time since, giving a detailed 
statement of all his domestic affairs, a biographical sketch of the husbands and 
husbands' Fathers of Laura & Louisa &c. It was to me very interesting, and must 
answer it. 

I hope you will not delay so long writing me as you did before I got the last 
letter. Does Cock's Lawyer know for whose benefit the debt is? As you recollect, 
it is in Cockes name. If there be any way that the money is not collected, or any 
new arrangement made, I should like to have it made in my name. 

Give my best respects to your wife and the little Boys, and believe me, as ever, 
you affectionate Brother, 

E Fletcher 

^ With a few noted exceptions, the following letters were written by Elijah Fletcher to his brother Calvin 
in Indianapolis. They are taken from volumes II, IV, VI, IX, and XVII of the Calvin Fletcher Letters In the 
William Henry Smith Memorial Library of the Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis. ^ Dr. Williams 

and his wife, Lucy Fletcher, had moved from Bennington, Vt., about 1824, to Newark, N.Y., where her 
sisters, Laura Button and Louisa Miller, also lived. 



To Jesse Fletcher 

Lynchburg 
Mrch. 21, 1830 
Dear Sir, 

I have been as careless as usual in writing you, but you save postage which 
perhaps is some consolation. For I expect, with all your children, that is an item 
of considerable consequence with you. Tim is making preparations to visit you 
this summer. He will probably start sometime in the month of May & I expect 
Sidney, our oldest boy, will come with him. He talks much about it and got his 
mother to begin to make his cloths and fix him for the trip. Should he be large 
enough to work and assist you any, you may keep him a year. Lucian wants to 
come likewise, but he is rather too wild and headstrong to travel so far. This is all 
of any consequence I have to communicate. Every thing goes on with me as 
usual — good health and no misfortunes. We have had a dry and, generally 
speaking, a pleasant winter. In the Political world there is yet much excitement, 
which no doubt [will] continue as long as unprincipled men are seeking and are 
so successful in gaining promotion. 

I had a letter from Calvin a short time ago. I likewise received a very 
interesting one from Dr Williams giving a minute account of the situation of his 



PART II: 1830-1858 113 

family and the Families of my sisters that live in his neitherhood. I have not 
answered it yet but must do it soon. This is Sabbath day. Sidney and Lucian have 
gone to Sunday School, which I make them both regularly attend. The bells have 
just rung for church, of which we have a goodly number for so small a place: two 
Baptist, two Methodist, one Presbyterian, one Quaker, one Episcopalian. The 
greater part of the people are frofessors of Religion. I must finish this and start 
for church. I generally attend the Episcopal.' We have a very smart Preacher 
there, a gentleman by the name of Smith from Bensen in Vermont.' We have 
another Episcopal clergyman by the name of Osgood, from Vermont, who lives in 
this county and very much respected.^ 

Tell my Mother I still remember her, & Stoughton to plant out those maple 
trees along the road and to let me know how much woll he will make this next 
summer and how his Stock have stood the winter and how many he will have to 
sell next fall. 

E. Fletcher 

^ Elijah*s laconic remark omits much information. In 1822, as a member of the organizational committee 
to establish an Episcopal church in Lynchburg and to raise funds for the permanent support of a clergyman, 
he made the largest contribution ; he also served on the early vestries of St. Paul's Church, which was built 
on the corner of Church and Seventh streets. It was dedicated in May 1826, when the first Episcopal Con- 
vention held above Tidewater Virginia met in Lynchburg, attracting many visitors to the town. (Halsey, op, 
cit-t pp. 83-84). "The Reverend Franklin G. Smith, "a native of New England who had opened a school 

in the Masonic Hall, assumed charge of the little congregation" in Sept. 1824. He remained at St. Paul's 
until 1837 (Ibid., pp. 83, 86). ^ Mr. Osgood was "the first who taught school and ministered" in Moore 
Parish, Campbell County, Va. He was instrumental in establishing St. John's Church near Pigeon Run (now 
Gladys, Va.) and maintained his school nearby (Meade, op. cit., II, 17). 



To Jesse Fletcher 

Lynchburg 
Sept. 5, 1830 
Dear Sir, 

It was but a few days past that we received your letter of the 23d ult. It arrived 
in seven days and it was a welcome letter, as Maria feels much solicitude about 
Sidney, though I believe she is very well satisfied that he stayed with you. Tim 
got home a week ago yesterday in good health. He gave a very good account of 
your affairs at home. Says he thinks you are managing better than you have been 
doing for several years past. Still he thinks you are a little in debt, which 
circumstance I hoped would never happen again. When Calvin was here he said 
the $150 which was sent you would entirely clear you of debt, and that no more 
debts would ever be contracted. I hope this is the case, for you have been so long 
in the bondage of debt that I feel anxious that you should be free from such 
slaver)' the few remaining days that \'ou may have to spend among us. 

Tim has been much pleased with his visit. Found all his sisters in prosperity, 
says they are all doing well. I was glad he spent so much time with you. I told 
him when he went on that he had better do so. I have never had an opportunity 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 114 

to spend as long a time with you when I have visited the north as I could wish. 
From Tims account of Sidney, we all feel well satisfied that he is with you and 
from your own letter that he may be some convenience to you. He is a Boy pretty 
easily managed, yet he is a child and wants to be controlled and guided. I hope 
you will not indulge him but make him behave as he ought and be a good Boy. 
Tell him that it would mortify me very much to hear that he did not obey you 
and his Grandma. In fact you must make him do that. Make him know his place. 
Do not treat him too tenderly. Make him work and be industrious and treat him 
as you formerly did your own. I feel no concern about him except his eye. When 
he takes cold, it is very apt to settle in his week eye. He will want cloths this fall. 
We intended Tim to have gotten him a suit of cloths when in N York that would 
have done for winter, but he was in such a hurry there he forgot it. If Mama 
makes any cloth that will do for his winter clothes, I will pay her for it. 

We have had an extreme hot summer, more uniformly hot and dry during 
July and August than I have hardly ever experienced it here. It has cut the corn 
and Tobacco crop short. The wheat, Rye, and oat crop was very good. It is a 
general time of health. I have had less sickness in my family than usual. As for 
myself, I never enjoyed better health. Maria wants to write some to Sidney and 
I will give her the balance of this sheet and wish you a farewell. 

E. Fletcher 

To Sidney Fletcher from Maria Fletcher 

Tuesday Evening 
My Dear Sidney, Your Papa and Lucian wants me to write you a letter tho' I 
have nothing new to tell you. We are all well. Puss [Indiana] grows very fast 
and talks a great deal to her Papa, who she is getting very fond of. She will 
always have her chair set besides his. Lucian is a much better boy than he used to 
be sometimes. I have a good deal of trouble to get him off to School. He says you 
must give him half of your Cows and hogs, sheep, &c for taking care of Archer. 
We all want to see you very much and anxious for the Spring to come that you 
may come home. I expect you will be a complete Yankee by that time. I hope you 
are a good boy and obey your Grandmama and all the family. You must never 
get in a passion and say anything you will be sorry for afterwards, and take good 
care of your cloths. I was very sorry your Uncle Tim did not get you any in N 
York, as I am sure you wanted them. I will get your Papa to send your 
Grandmama some money to get some and have them made. You can were your 
Old Surtout every day when the weather gets cold. I am afraid you will be a great 
trouble to your Grand Mama. It has been very lonesome at home this Summer. 
Rhoderick and Alexander had been out of Town all the Summer. The boys at the 
office are all well and often asks when you are coming home. 

Lucian says you must bring him a frock when you come, his Uncle Tim has 
told him so much about them he wants to see one. He has six pigs that he feds ten 



PART II: 1830-1 858 115 

times a day and as many ducks. He says he intends to sell them to get Money to 
go after you. You must get your Uncle Stoughten next Spring to come with you 
to your Uncle Miles and I can get you from there at any time. Their are always 
some one going from here to New York. I fele uneasy about your eye. You must 
be careful and not go with out your hat, you know the wind is apt to make it soar. 
Any thing you want you must get your GrandMamma to get it for you and have 
it made and your Papa will send the Money soon if he dont send it in this letter. I 
expect you want some thick cloths by this time. I was looking over your last 
winters cloths and your Books to day, I could not help crying. My Dear Sidney, I 
wish you had your Books, but you can read some of your GrandPapas this winter. 
Your Papa thinks it best for you not to go to school this winter, he wants you to 
help your Uncle Stoughten work. You must not forget us all. When little Puss 
says her prayers at Night she says, far well Siddy, you must come home in the 
morning. You must get your grandpapa to write for you once a month. You must 
write some of the letter your Self too. Lucian says you must write to him what he 
must do with Archer, that he wont let him whip him, that he turns in and whips 
him. Lucian & Puss sends their love to their dear Brother Sidney & hopes the 
time will soon come when they shall see him, & ever believe me your Affectionate 
Mother, 

Maria A Fletcher 



Lynchburg 
Sept. 5th, 1830 
Dear Brother, 

It is sometime since I have written you and sometime since I received a letter 
from you. That by Mr Murrell was the last. As to the affair in Kentucky, I know 
you will do the best you can for me. I shall, as I have here to fore, trust the 
management of it entirely to you. 

The principal object of writing you now is to inform you that Tim has been to 
Vermont and N York and returned in good health about a week ago. He carried 
Sidney on with him and left him there to work for his Grandfather one year. 
Sidney was delighted with the idea of going and as much pleased when he got 
there. His grandma feasted him up with nut cakes and pies and Tim could not 
persuade him to come back with him. He would cry every time Tim would tell 
him he must come back. He carried on his little yellow dog with him and keeps 
him there. Tim says he found them all well and doing well. Fanny was in 
[Newark] N York with her sisters and he found much more domestic quiet at 
home in consequence of it. 

Every thing was plenty and the Farm in pretty good order. But he savs they 
are still in debt. He thinks Father owes about $200. This surprised me, as you 
said you had made a correct estimate when there last year and that $ 1 50 which I 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 116 

sent them would pay off all their debt. Tim carried on money to pay off Henrys 
debt, which you know was the balance of the mortgage Father had given, so the 
Farm is now entirely unincumbered. Tim stayed with his Father near a month, 
helped him most through with his haying. He then went up the canal' to his 
Sisters in N York. Stayed a few days with them and then down to Michaels,' 
where he stayed another day and night. Then to Miles^ and stayed one day, and 
on home through Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlottesville, etc. He 
was altogether gone about nine weeks and returned very much gratified with his 
trip. 

We have had a very warm summer. The months of July and August were 
more uniformly hot and dry than I have ever experienced them here. The effect 
upon the corn and Tobacco will be to cut them very short. Our wheat, rye, & oat 
harvest were very abundant. Myself and family have enjoyed perfect health 5 I 
never experienced better health in my life. Lucian has met with a sad disaster this 
summer. He has had to part from all his dogs. The corporation laid so heavy a 
tax on them that he was obliged to give them all away. 

We talk much about politics here yet. I perceive that the annual election in 
your state has just taken place. I suppose it will be difficult to say what will be the 
complexion of your legislature upon national politics. You have so many local 
and private parties there that your state elections, I suppose, do not turn entirely 
upon preferences for Presidential candidates. From some of your state papers it 
would seem that Clay would be the favorite candidate with your next 
Legislature. I suppose others that I do not see would give a contrary statement. 
What is Hendricks chance for reelection to the U. States Senate?^ 

This has been a rainy Sunday ; I did not go to church. It is now about nine 
o'clock at night. All but myself have gone to bed. I will close this and do so 
myself. You must write me immediately on the receipt of this. Tell me how your 
boys and all come on. I miss Sydney very much. Father writes me he is much 
assistance to him in going errands and saves him a great many steps. I expect he 
will stay there about a year. I think you will then have to send on one of your 
sons. 

Give my best respects to your wife and believe me sincerely yours, 

E Fletcher 

■'The Erie Canal was opened in 182;; it passed through Newark, where the three married sisters lived. 
^Michael's address at the time is not known. ^ Miles lived in Marlboro, N.Y. ■* William Hendricks 

(1782-1850) was one of the first settlers of Madison, Ind. Elected to Congress in 1816 when Indiana became 
a state, he was governor, 1822-25, and then served two terms in the U.S. Senate, 1825-37. 



PART II: JS30-1S5S 117 

To Sidney Fletcher from Maria Fletcher 

Lynchburg 
October the 4th [1830] 
IVIy Dear Sidney, 

I have been thinking about \ou all day and wanting to hear from you very 
much. I thought I would write you this evening. It is sunday, your Papa and 
Lucian went to Church. Mr. Smith was to have prech at the Epispacal church but 
has not returnd. He was expected last night. I hope I shall here something from 
you by him.' I am getting very anxious to see you. I wish it was not such a distance 
but I could send for you this fall. I hope you are contented and pleased and that 
will make me so. If you are a good boy, which I have no doubt of, I am sure your 
relations will treat you well. Early in the spring I hope you can come to your 
Uncle Miles and then you can come on with some of the Merchants that will go 
from here. It seems like it will be a long time before I shall see you now. 

Lucian has just got back from his Grand Mamas. He went over in the stage 
ajid returnd in it, he stayed only a week. He thinks he is a great traveller, eat 
dinner at the Court House" and forgot to pay for it. He has grown very much 
this Summer. Him and Archer has a dozen fights a day. He often talks of you 
and wants to see you very much. He has ten pigs, his Old Bludy and his young 
Bludy has five a piece. Your little Poney is as round as a ball, he is so fat I wish 
you had him to ride, but I expect you have got to be such a man you would not 
ride a pone\\ Your Aunt Julia has been over some weeks.^ Rhoderick has just got 
back from New Glasgow, he do's not go to School. If you had rather go to school 
this winter, you must write me. I would give a great deal, my Dear Sidney, if \ou 
would write me a letter. 

We have had no cold weather yet. The Water Mellons and Peaches are just 
gone. There has been a great many this Summer. I often wished you had some 
but expect you had something better in its place. When you write, say if Bolaver 
is a live. Heby is out at Paul Jones yet, she has three more puppys. I dont see her 
often. Puss has three cats that amuses her very much. She has grown so you 
would hardly know her, looks very much like her Aunt Fanny. She often asks 
after you, she says poor Siddy, why donte he come home to see me. Whenever 
you get a letter from any of us, you must get your Grandpapa to Write one for 
you. Write me any thing what you want and if you want to come home. 

I shall send Lucian to Yalita Monday,* I reckon he will tame him. Him and 
Puss are resting some potatoes in the fire. I wish you were with him. We have no 
apples nor cider this winter. I reckon you will get as fat as a little pig this winter, 
that I shant know you when you come home. I have got all your books put a way 
for you. You must read very often and write too. I have sent you $5 to buy you 
some thick cloths, I will send you some more to buy a suit for Christmast. Have 
you spent all your money? If you hav^e, you must ask your Grandmama to give 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 118 

you a quarter out of this I have sent. You must be a good boy, my dear Sidney, 
and be as little trouble as you can to your relations. I wish I had an opportunity, I 
would send you your stockings and winter cloths. You must take care of what you 
get. Perhaps your Papa may take it in his head and go for you next spring. You 
must all ways put on your old Surtout when you go out, it is so much colder there 
than it is here. We have hardly had fires yet and no frost. You must write me 
directly you get this. I have not heard from you for six weeks now and am very 
anxious to know how you are. Your Uncle Tim has been talking about writing to 
you for a month but he is so lazy, he has not done it. 

Remember me to your Grandmama & Grand Papa, Uncle Stoughton, Miss 
Susan, Mrs. Proctor, and Miss S Parker.'^ You must take care of your cloths & 
dont go dirty, particularly when you go a broad. Florady and Lucian send a great 
deal of love to you and their relations. Lucian often wishes he was with you. Far 
well, my dear Sidney, and ever believe me your affectionate Mother, 

M A Fletcher 

If you want more money you must write. 

Mr. Smith had apparently been visiting in his native state, Vermont. The village of Amherst, the 

county seat. Julia Crawford, Maria's youngest sister, was born Oct. 4, 1812. Yalita(?) must have 

had a school, but he has eluded all efforts at identification. Miss Susan Sargent, the "hired girl"j 

Mrs. Proctor and Miss S. (Sally) Parker, cousins of the Fletchers. 



To Sidney Fletcher from Lucicm and Maria Fletcher 

Lynchburg 
Sunday night, Dec. 5, 1 830 

Dear Brother, 

I have been waiting to hear from you but as you will not write to me I have 
concluded to write to you. I go to school to Yielita.^ I have not got whipped but 
once, I get my lessons good." 

I expect to go to Amherst at Christmast. Aunt Gabe has been here for several 
days and wants me to go over then.^ I get a long tolarable well. I have got no 
body to play with me but Rhoderick and Archer and they are poor concerns but 
I cant do better. I expect to come on next spring for you. I reckon you will want 
to come home by that time. I had ten pigs but Mama has killed them all. I see I 
shall never get rich here. I cant get no money. Uncle Tim and Papa is so stingy, 
they wont give me any thing. You must write me what you are doing and if you 
work. Daniel behaves very well, he lives in Mr Evans confectionary shop. He 
comes to see me every Sunday. Jim Chack lives five miles in the country so I 
never see him. I hope you will not get married before you come back, they are 
some girles that are always askin after you. None of them care for me I believe. 



PART II: IS30-185S 119 

I shall expect you to answer my letter immediately. We always want to hear 
from you, every stage Mama says she hopes she will get a letter from Sidney. 
This is the first cold day, we have had no snow yet. I hope you had a good 
thanks giving, a plenty of Pumpkins, pies and cakes. Mama has made none this 
winter. Hoping you will write me shortly, I conclude with my love to my grand 
Mother and grand Father, Uncle Stoughten. I want to see my kin folks very 
much. They say I am just like Grand papa tho my head is not right red. 

Your Brother 
Lucian Fletcher 

Another spelling of tiie mysterious schoolteacher's name. " Lucian wrote this far, then his mother 

wrote for him. ^ Maria's sister, Gabriella Crawford, was born in 1807. .\ marriage license was issued to 

her and Charles H. Page (1801-76) on June 30, 1827 (Amherst County Register of Marriages I, 293). In 
the family Bible, the marriage date is given as July 5. 



To Jesse Fletcher from Elijah Fletcher 

December 13, 1830 

Lucian commenced this letter last week and after writing three or four lines, 
got his ma to finish the page out. And now they say I must finish it, though I 
have nothing of consequence to write. We had a snow last week 4 or 5 inches 
deep, before that we had fine weather and very little cold. Tim is very well and 
in good spirits. He seems to enjoy himself as well as any body. He is very 
industrious, fond of having business carried on well. He is sometimes, though, 
fretful and quarrels with me as he did when we were boys at home. I let Tim 
have his way and never dispute with him. I have heard seldom from Calvin or 
Miles of late. From Michael and Jess I never hear. I suppose Sidney will go to 
school some this winter; of this, however, I feel no concern, knowing you will do 
with him for the best. I feel just as well satisfied as tho he was with me. I am 
however somewhat afraid you will indulge him too much. 

The political excitement at present is not so great as heretofore. I expect 
however that now Congress is in Session they will again stir a breeze. Your State 
seems firm against Jackson but I think the excitement against Masonry as foolish 
as attachment to Jackson. We have no Mason excitement in this state. 

I send a five dollar United States note, which is a present to mother. I suppose 
Sidney does not spend much money. I am afraid his little dog Bolivar will suffer 
with cold this winter, as he was raised in so much more temperate climate, unless 
Sidney lets him sleep in the house cold nights. Lucian says Sidney must write 
how Bolivar comes on. 

You must write us as soon as you receive this letter. Make Sidney write some 
of the letter, to let us see if he can write as well as Lucian. Sidney is fond of 
reading stor\' books ; if you see any such, buy them for him and I will send him 
some money to pay for them. Write me if you ever hear from Grandmama 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 120 

Hamblin. I should like very much to hear from her. If she be living, I think I 
will send her a barrel or two of Flour this winter. Our best family Flour cost us 
about $4.50 the barrel here, though the common Superfine does not fetch more 
than $3.75. 

Lucian is sitting by me and though it is not more than 8 o'clock at night, he is 
sleepy and wants to go to bed. Tell Sidney we will send him and his 
Grandmother two or three barrels of Flour to make cakes with between this and 
the spring. We have very few apples here this winter. Though the trees were 
tolerable full last year, they rotted so that few were saved and hardly any cider 
was made. 

We must bid you all farewell, hoping to hear from you soon, 

E Fletcher 



To Sidney Fletcher jrom Maria Fletcher 

Lynchburg 
Jan. 27, [183 1 ] 

Dear Sidney, 

I recieved your Grandpaps letter and was glad to hear you and all our friends 
were well. I was in hopes you would have written yourself. Lucian has been at 
Mr Pages for a month.^ He rode behind his Papa over and intend to come back 
the next week in the Stage but the weather set in so cold and the roads were so 
bad that he could not get back. His Papa has gone over for him to day, he will be 
home to morrow. 

We have had the coldest weather that has been felt for ten years. I dont know 
what you have done, it is so much colder there than here. I have had no body 
with me but Puss. She talks a great deal and much about Sidney. I am a fraid she 
never will love Lucian. She never has any thing but she says she is going to save 
it for Siddy. Lucian has not seen his letter yet. I expect he will want me to write 
you a gain soon. I should not write now, but it is seldom I have a still hour, and to 
night I am all a lone & I write more to enclose you the five $5 you wanted to buy 
a pair of boots & a hat. I think you had better get a cap, I am a fraid you will look 
too much like a man with a fur hat on. I was very glad to see from you Grand 
Papas letter you was a good boy. I hope you will continue so. You must be very 
industrious and do what ever they tell you to do. 

Lucian will go to School as soon as he gets home. I am a fraid you will for get 
what little you know. You have been from School so long, you must read at 
Night. I wish you had some of your books with you. I have got them all put away 
for you. Puss takes them out sometimes to look at the pictures. It has been so 
cold, none of the little boys have been to School this Winter. 



PART II: 1830-1858 121 

Your Grandmama and Aunt Julia have gone to Petersburg to stay this winter 
with your Aunt Betsy Spooner's poor little children. I suppose you saw her death 
in the paper. She got up well in the morning and died before eight Oclock. Mama 
will bring the children up with her in the Spring. Emma is in Philidelphia at 
School. John Patten has got to be a iig Man, has no more Sense than he used to 
have." 

I am afraid you will forget us all here, you will be gone from us so long, but 
My Dear Sidney, you must never for get your Parents and Brother and Sister. I 
am glad to hear you are so well contented. I expect you have been quite busy this 
cold weather taking care of your Cattle. I expect you will be a great Farmer when 
you come back. Your Papa will have to buy a plantation for you and Archer to 
work. I believe I shall hire Archer out this year, he is getting to be very lazy and 
we have nothing for him to do. I expect he will get Spoilt before you come back. 

I was sory to hear you had got so fat that you had out grown your cloths. I am 
a fraid you eat too much, )'our Grandmama must not give you so many good 
things. You will miss your nut Cakes and pies. You know I dont give little boys 
many goods My Self, it is apt to Spoil them. Puss go's up to Mr Evans's some 
times and gets a cake and a few nuts.^ He is ver)' close with them, poor Lucian 
never gets any with out he buys them. I suppose you have seen a plenty of Sleighs 
this winter. There were too or three here considered as great a curosity as a Steam 
boat. 

You must tr)' and write me a letter your Self soon. I would not be grudge to 
give a dollar to get one wrote by your self. I intend to make Lucian write you one 
when he comes back and you must not let him out do you. I shall leave one side 
for your Papa to write one. I expect he will want to say some thing to your 
grandpapa. 

Give my love to your Grand Mother & Father, Stoughten, Miss Susan, Mrs. 
Proctor & Cousin Sally Parker, and all that has not for gotten me. I enclose you 
$5. Write me if you are in want of any thing else. Where is your Aunt Fanny? I 
never hear any thing a bout her. When you write tell me if she is in \'ermont. If 
your Uncle Stoughten gets married before you return I expect you will have to 
be Brides man. I am glad you have no notion of geting married yourself. 

Far Well, my dear Sidne}', and ever believe me your affectionate Mother, 

Maria A Fletcher 

^ The Pages apparently lived in New Glasgow. A few years earlier, when what was known as Callaway's 
Church was opened in Mar., 1828, on the northwest side of Buffalo Ridge In Amherst County, "the first 
minister was the Rev. Charles H. Page, who married a daughter of W. S. Crawford" (Brown, op. ci/., 
p. 399). Mr. Page served several churches in Amherst and Nelson counties (Meade, op. cit.^ I, 40). 
~ Probably the son of Elijah's cousin, John Patten, and Maria's sister, Sarah Crawford. Her marriage was 
recorded Aug. 15, 181 5, in the Crawford Bible, although her husband's name is not indicated. A property 
conveyance dated Dec. 8, 1824, speaks of John Patten "with his present wife Sarah Patten formerly Sarah 
Crawford who was and Is one of the heirs of Wm. S. Crawford dec'd." It shows John Patten, Jr., as their 
second child (Amherst County Deed Book, vol. Q, 277-279). (See letter of Apr. 8, 1838, n.i.) ^ Mr. 

Evans' confectionery shop is mentioned earlier In the letter of Dec. 5, 1830. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 122 

Lynchburg 
March 29, 1831 
Dear Brother, 

I received yours a few days past. It brought with it its usual gratification, the 
friendly effusion of a warm and overflowing heart. Since that was written, you 
have no doubt learnt the heart rending tidings from home, that a Parent whom 
we all esteemed and had much reason to love was no more.' Stoughton first 
communicated to me the sad intelligence. Since then Miles, who had been home, 
has written me. He says he found all low spirited and every thing looked 
melancholy. He assisted in taking an inventory of the personal property. Found 
a will conveying all to Stoughton and appointing Isaac Ives Executor, but he 
recommended Stoughton not to have any one administer on the estate, that it 
would cost a $100, that all his Brothers would gladly release to him all the estate 
knowing he had been a faithful Boy to his Father and served him faithfully till 
his dying hour. This I think was good advice. 

Miles found the debts owing amounted to about $ 1 80. He seems to think 
Stoughton will be able to carry on the Farm. I shall be glad if he is. I should be 
sorry to have it sold and rather it should be cultivated by one of the family, but 
still I should be sorry to have him stay there unless he can make something for 
himself and it seems to me he can. I think I could make a heap of money on such 
a place. He will have no one to support but himself. He is perfectly welcome to 
all he can make. I have written to him to hire a good steady man and to carry on 
the farm this year, that I would help him pay the debts. I was afraid the creditors 
would be impatient and sue and put him to cost. 

I wrote a letter to Jabez Procter to advise with Stoughton and likewise assured 
him that I would see the debts paid as soon as they were ascertained, that the 
people need not feel uneasy about them. Should I find it necessary, I will go 
home and stay a few days the next summer, but if things go on pretty well I shall 
defer it, as it is at all times inconvenient to leave home. 

I feel much gratified to reflect that myself and my wife and that you and that 
Tim had visited our Father so lately. I am much pleased likewise that Sidney 
remained with him. He was probably some amusement to him in his declining 
days. I felt perfectly satisfied to have him remain there and had his Grandfather 
lived I do not know when I should have taken him away. I am somewhat afraid 
now to let him, that no one there will have sufficient control to manage such a 
child. Lucian wants to go on very much this summer and if I go I will take him. 
This is a bad country in which to bring up boys. I wish mine could be raised in 
the indigence and simplicity that you and I were. You may feel very happy that 
you are not in a slave state with your fine Boys, for it is a wretched country to 
destroy the morals of youth. 

I have thought I would procure a nice stone for our respected Fathers Grave. I 
will go to $200 in expense. You have more taste in these matters than I have. I 



PART II: 1830-1858 123 

should like to have your ideas about it, likewise to have you write a suitable 
inscription. 

I am going on with usual prosperity in business. I have lately bought me a 
Plantation which Maria talks of settling and spending her summers at." You may 
perhaps remember it. It lies this side of Amherst Court House, about 1 2 miles 
from here, with a large brick house on it, containing about lOOO acres of pretty 
good land. It cost about $7000. It is paid for as well as all the rest of my 
property. There are no debts against me except some small matters. I am not 
quite prepared yet to retire from business. I have thought, should I live so long, I 
would try to [accumuf ]late til I was muster free (45) and then retire, but there 
is no knowing what might be my feelings then. 

Maria has another daughter about two months old,' making two sons and two 
daughters. You followed Dr. Franklins advise of early marriage, that you might 
see your children raised and provided for before you die. It is perhaps a very 
good rule. 

Not until a few days past have we had much warm weather. The fruit trees 
begin now to put forth with fair promises of an abundant crop. 

Give my best respects to your wife. Tell your little Boys they must write a 
letter to Lucian and he shall answer it. He goes to school but is so wild he does 
not learn much. Farewell. 

E Fletcher 

^ Jesse Fletcher died Feb. 14, 1831. ^ This can only be Sweet Briar. The heart of the plantation was 

the land owned by Thomas Crews, who had defaulted in payments on a mortgage. By court order the property 
came up for sale at auction on Dec. 22, 1830, "at which sale Elijah Fletcher became the purchaser, being the 
highest bidder ... for the following land lying in the County of Amherst, adjoining the lands of Benjamin 
Brown, Thomas Higginbotham, and others, and containing eight to nine hundred acres, lying on botli sides 
of Lynches Road, being the place on which the said Crews lived for many years" (Amherst County Deed 
Book, vol. T, 323). Elijah subsequently bought various other parcels of land to enlarge this plantation, 
known to the Crews family as Locust Ridge. Mrs. Crews, the former Sarah Penn, was a sister of Maria's 
mother, Sophia Crawford. ^ Elizabeth was born Feb. 5, 1831. 

To Elijah Fletcher from Miles Fletcher 

Marlboro 
Augst. 13th, 1 83 1 

Elijah 

Yours I received this morning saying that you should be in Lud Low, eight 
days from the 5 and that will bring you home this day. I do not know that I can 
say any thing about Stoughtons affairs that will instruct you for the better. I 
Yeald to your riper judgement. It will be my wish to have him remain with our 
aged Mother if it will not affect his interest too much. I further wish you to 
inquir in to the debts of our deceased Father. I expect you will bring Sidney 
along with you. I will write to Michael and apprise him of your Visit. 

Remember me to all the family. Your brother, 

Miles J. Fletcher 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 124 

Ludlow 
Aug. 20, 1 83 1 
Dear Brother, 

I left home 5th this month and arrived here last Saturday the 13th, found all 
well. Stoughton had gotten through his haying and just finishing his harvesting. 
He is considered by all an excellent manager on a Farm. The Farm looks very 
well and he has raised a good crop. He has a good stock of cattle and hogs. Father 
sold all his sheep last year and they have none. Stoughton has sold one yoke of 
oxen this summer at $50 and paid off some of the debts, still there is about $250 
remaining due. It seems as though they never could get to the end of their debts. 
You recollect when you was here you said $175 would pay off every thing. I sent 
them that and they have been so hard run as to sell all their sheep &c and still 
when Father died there was about $350 due. Miles in his estimate when he came 
home only made it $200. 1 shall pay them all off before I go home. 

Stoughton does not seem much disposed to remain upon the Farm. He thinks 
the offer I make him not a very good one (to wit) : to pay off the debts for him 
and let him have every thing he can make. At least he seems to want to go to 
school and travel for one year and that I think very well of. Mother does not 
want to leave here. I found it very difficult to make arrangements to suit all. I feel 
unwilling to have the place pass from the Family into other hands, I thought at 
one time of renting it out for five years. Then I concluded that perhaps 
Stoughton might wish to return at the end of the year and that I would hire a 
good man to carry it on for one year and Susan, the girl that has been living here 
three or four years and with whom Mother is much pleased. Stoughton will stay 
till 1st or middle of October and finish off the crop with the hired man he has had 
with him this summer. I have a notion of trying to hire Michael to come and live 
here a year. I shall call upon him as I go on home. 

Stoughton thinks of going to stay with Miles and go to School this winter, or 
he would come and stay with you if he thought there was a school in 
Indianapolis. He intends to visit you in the course of the year and you better 
write to him which way it will be best for him to come. The amount of property 
left him by Father is worth perhaps $600 or $700. He has proposed to me to give 
him $500 clear of all the debts and any thing and let me take all with the farmj 
and although it is probably more than it is worth, as he is our youngest Brother, 
to give him a start I have concluded to do it. I pay him $100 now and when he 
fully makes up his mind not to return but to go into other business, I am to pay 
him the balance. But if he wants to return at the end of the year, he is at liberty to 
take his property again. 

After Travelling about and seeing the world and seeing how people live and 
that it is not the easiest thing in the world to get property, he may return. I think 
he could easily clear $200 a year with good management but I suppose he would 
have to work pretty hard. I fear that Father or some one else had rather induced 
him to think that I ought to give him the place, but I think that would not be 



PART II: 1830-1858 125 

right and I do not think it would be much advantage to him. He is young and 
healthy and, I am glad to find, smart and intelligent for his opportunity and I 
think pretty well calculated to make his own way in the world. I have scuffled 
pretty hard to make and save what I have and I owed it to my own family to 
preserve it for them, or at least what I give away, to give to my Mother, Brothers 
and Sisters who are in need or distress; or if I have any thing else to give 
them — they are all dear equally to me — I ought to distribute equally among 
them. To be sure, Stoughton has been a kind and good child to his parents and 
deserves great praise, but he has a pretty beginning in life which he would not 
have had if Tim & I had not paid so much and given so much to our lamented 
Father in his life time. Mother does not encourage Stoughton to stay and seems 
vcr\- willing for him to go. 

Fanny is here — has been here all summer — will return to live with Laura in a 
week or two.' Dr. Williams and Lucy spent two or three weeks here in June and 
July. I found Sidney well and very much grown. He has been fond of work and 
very serviceable. A little Bov is of great use in turning out cows &c — one on such a 
Farm is equal to a man. But he has grown to be a complete Yankee Boy. He has 
learnt all the Yankee expressions, very fond of the cattle and takes great care of 
them. He is anxious to go home with me but wants to return after seeing his 
mother, Brother, and Sisters. I wish one of your Boys could come and spend a 
year here. I found Jesse's wife here, who is In bad health; as you know she was al- 
ways a complaining woman. Jesse lives in Granville in N York," has become reli- 
gious last winter with his wife, and is said to be quite an altered man. I shall go by 
there to see him. Stoughton will go as far as there with me; we shall start to- 
morrow. I shall get home In about a month from the time I left home. 

I mislaid your letter containing an inscription for Father's Grave Stone. I wish 
you would send it to me again. Father was the first Justice of the Peace In this 
town and if you remember the number of years he remained so or to what year he 
ceased to be Justice of the Peace or Town Clerk, It might be named.^ I had 
thought of having the Stone of four sides Square of about 1 8 inches. I want 
Fathers to be a little nicer than any other in the Grave yard. I have not visited 
much, have seen several of the neighbours. They had a great antimasonic 
meeting here yesterday and are making much stir about it here now. I suppose 
some of them calculate upon promotion by producing a new excitement. I feel 
anxious to learn how you have made out In your election.^ I shall not regret If you 
have been unsuccessful, for there is very little honor and less profit these days In 
public affairs. 

Isaac Ives has just come in and I must finish. Give my best respects to your 
wife and the little boys and believe me, as ever, your Brother, 

E Fletcher 

■"■ Apparently Fanny had been living with Laura Button at Newark for several years. Fanny was the widow 
of Dr. Calvin Bliss, who died in 1813. "A village in New York just across the state line from Vermont, 

about forty miles west of Ludlow, ^ Jesse Fletcher was one of the 6rst settlers of Ludlow, In 1783. At the 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 126 

first town meeting, in 1792, he wa3 elected clerk and first selectman. He served as clerk, 1792—93 and 1795— 
1809; as selectman, 1792-1801, 1803-08) and he represented the district in the state legislature in 1798-99. 
At the meeting in 1806 to organize a school he was chosen moderator and clerk. In 1812 he became a charter 
member and first treasurer of the Green Mountain Masonic Lodge, which met for several years in his home 
(Harris, op. cit., pp. 15, 16, 50, 82, 84, 85, 112). "Mr. Fletcher was a man of more than ordinary ability, 
honest and industrious, and held many town offices, having the trust and respect of all who knew him. He 
was a leading figure in the development of the town, up to the time of his death" {Hid., p. 78). * Calvin 
was elected to the state senate for a third term in Aug. 1831. (See letter of Aug. 3, 1828, n.5.) 



Marlborough, N York 
August 26, 1 83 1 
Dear Brother, 

I left Ludlow last Saturday. Stoughton brought me and Sidney in the waggon 
to Granville, where Jesse lives. I found Jesse and his family well, except his wife 
who has been for 12 years complaining. He is very comfortably situated, 
apparently doing no business. There seems to be a store there, conducted by a 
young man brought from N Jersey by Jess and who lived with him there, in 
which I expect he has an interest if not wholly owner. They are selling the Store 
out and Jess says he will move this fall either to N Jersey or up to Burlington 
where John Potwine^ lives and business will be conducted by his oldest son, 
Seymor, who is now a man grown and a very promising Boy. He has been 
brought up by his uncle Ansen Potwine. 

I left Jess on Tuesday and Wednesday arrived at Michaels who was glad to 
see me, looks well and lives contented in the same way as when you saw him. I 
tried to get him to go home and live one year — while Stoughton was absent — for 
which I would give him $130, but he declined and seemed unwilling to leave 
home. His little son, Richardson, is a smart Boy — writes a very good hand, made 
smart advancement in Arithmetic.^ His little girl likewise is an interesting child. 
His wife was very kind.^ 

Miles sent up little Fletcher Williams^ with his waggon to meet us and brought 
us down yesterday, where I found all well. Miles will start tomorrow or next day 
and proceed as far as Baltimore with me. He has an idea of looking about to see 
if he can find a place that will suit him better than this. Miles seems to think that 
Stoughton had better go to School this winter and [con.? ]tinue on the Farm at 
Ludlow. I felt some delicacy in giving him advice. I should like to have you write 
yourself to Stoughton. Had I advised him to stay, he might have thought I was 
interested in so doing; but I feel anxious for him to go to school and then to 
pursue some business by which he can make something for himself. 

I was pleased to find your letter here [at.'' ] Miles. I felt great anxiety about 
your election. A man dislikes being turned out of an ofEce whether he be anxious 
for the office or not. As your Friends demanded your services at this critical 
juncture, I think you was right in offering again. You can now pursue an inde- 
pendent course and retire when you please. 

Michael talks some of letting his son go to Virginia to go to school. He wants 



PART II: 1830-1858 127 

to improve him but says he is not able to do it himself. He says he has about $500 
out at interest, but he wants to lay up some for old age. I am afraid he will never 
have nearly enough to remove from the place he lives now. He spent the day I 
staid there with me but said he wished I had come the week before when he had 
no employment. 

I expect I shall get home in about nine days. I got a letter here yesterday from 
home, learnt that all was well and going on well. As I wrote to you so fully at 
Ludlow, I shall close this without writing much more. I see in your letter to 
Miles you wished me to write to you from this place and I do it cheerfully, for I 
may state a great many little things here on the spot about your friends that I 
should forget when I get home. 

I think very probably Miles will move. He says he can make a living here but 
he thinks it a time of life when he ought to think of making something to lay up. 
Business had declined very much here since he first came. There are so many 
little places of business on this river that no one can make much. He has got but 
two children, Sidney and a little boy about two years old named Dubois, a 
black-eyed smart little child. 

Jesse has five children — two boys and three girls. Very smart children, and he 
seems to raise them genteely. He and his wife have become pious and joined the 
Congregational Church. I hope he is a reformed man — but he still likes to 
talk big. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^ Probably a brother-in-law of Jesse, Jr., whose wife was Betsey Potwin. - According to the Fletcher 

Family History, this was Michael's third son. His name, Timothy Richardson, apparently derives from those 
of his great-grandparents, Timothy and Bridget Richardson Fletcher, of Westport, Mass. ^ Time had 

softened Elijah's judgment of his sister-in-law, to whom he had referred unkindly in his letter of Oct. I, 
1810. ^ Lucy's oldest son, who seems to have been visiting his uncle Miles at Marlboro. 



Lynchburg 
Dec. 12, 1 83 1 
Dear Brother, 

I received by the last mail your letter of the 25th ult. I was much pleased to 
receive it, not only to hear from you that you were all well, but particularly to 
hear from Stoughton' — that he had arrived safe with you from a long and 
somewhat perilous journey. You do not appreciate him too highly. There are few 
young men of better qualities. He wants what he has now, an opportunity of 
getting a little common education and by tra\'elling, a little acquaintance with 
mankind. He ought to study writing, arithmetic and Geography — nothing 
further yet awhile. Those branches are most essential and he will not probably 
have an opportunity of advancing far. I would not have him touch Grammar. It 
cannot be acquired in a short time and a smattering knowledge of it is worth but 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 128 

little. I shall expect If he concludes to return in the Spring he will come this way. 

Tim will go on in the Spring and I expect Sidney or Lucian will go with him. 
Sidney is very anxious to return and says if he once more gets back to Ludlow 
they will never catch him back in old Virginia again. But I expect if Stoughton 
was not there he would not care so much about going back. He seems to wish to 
spend his days with Stoughton. But Lucian says it is his turn to go and that he 
could work and do as well for his Grandma as Sidney. Sidney has received one 
letter two or three weeks ago from Susan with which he was very much de- 
lighted. She wrote all was well and going on well but every thing very lonesome 
at home since he and Stoughton were gone. 

You will be surprised to hear that Dr. Williams, Lucy, and their youngest son, 
Byron," are with us. They arrived here about two weeks ago. The Doctor thought 
he would try a Southern winter for his health.^ He thinks the change agrees with 
him very well and is so much better than he has been that he talks of returning 
sometime in next month, though he came to spend the winter. I shall persuade 
him to stay till Spring. Lucy is in very good health and fine spirits, has a good 
appetite and seems to enjoy herself. 

We have had an early and uncommon severe winter thus far. The cold 
commenced about two weeks ago, the ground is covered with Snow and the 
streams blocked with ice. Tim and all of us are in good health. Mr. Toller has 
lately been on a visit to Richmond, which has made my labors a little more 
severe. He returned a few days past. I suppose you are again engaged in your 
Legislative business. You will not have much time to spend in nursing — your 
little boys will have to take care of themselves. If Timothy did not intend to go 
on to Vermont next summer I think I should visit you. I feel the greatest anxiety 
to see you at home, surrounded with your interesting Family. With such a fine 
parcel of boys, if properly trained, you will receive much comfort.* Tell 
Stoughton Tim will start about the first of June, so that if he returns he had 
better be here early enough to return with him. 

I am glad to hear that there is some chance yet to save that money in 
Kentucky. I know you will do the best you can for me. Should you ever go there 
again I think you had better get the claim endorsed in some way for my benefit. 
However I will leave it to you to manage as you may think best. 

It is most bed time. Tell Stoughton he must write to me, as he will have now 
sufficient leisure. You must write likewise yourself again very soon. 

Give my best respects to your wife and all, and believe me, as ever, 

your brother 
E Fletcher 

^ Once settled in Indianapolis, Stoughton remained there. For several years he was in the mercantile busi- 
ness and then went into banking. " Noel Byron Williams was 20 when he died, Aug. 9, 1847. His grave 
is In Newark Cemetery. ^ Dr. Williams, who came to Newark about 1824, "soon became the leading 



PART II: 1830-185S 129 

physician of that place, and so continucci until failing health compelled him ... to spend a winter In the 
South. On his return he quit the active practice of his profession and thereafter lived a quiet life. . . . He 
died in Newark, Mar. 13, 1850, at the age of 61" (Colvin, op. cil., pp. 18-19). ^Calvin's fifth son, 

Stoughton Alfonzo, was born Oct. 25, 1S31. 



Lynchburg 
March 27, 1832 
Dear Brother, 

I received a letter from you a few days past, Sidney likewise received one from 
Stoughton. Sidney is going to School but is not fond of writing. He is studying 
Latin with exercises in History and learns very fast, but he wants to see 
Stoughton and be with him. The days he spent with him are the happiest he will 
ever spend. Tim will probably visit Vermont in June or perhaps as early as 
May. 

I should like much to know Stoughton's disposition about returning to Ludlow 
before Tim quits there. It will be necessary to make some arrangements if he 
concludes not to return — perhaps it may be best to rent out the Farm. But if he 
returns, every thing will remain as it is. That was the understanding with us last 
summer. It will be well for him to come to a determination by the ist of June and 
let me know. I shall be much pleased if he finds it to his interest and pleasure to 
return. It makes me feel melancholy to think that the place must be under the 
management of Strangers, as I know it would not be improved or well taken care 
of by any one that should rent or lease it, although it might be profitable to me. 
Still I cannot request Stoughton, nor even wish him, to spend an hour there 
unless he find it to his interest. 

I was pleased to see from his letter that he had much improved his hand 
writing. He ought to pay a little attention to spelling. He tells Sidney that your 
oldest Son is a smart scholar. I wish I had the leisure to visit you and see your 
Family, but my time is completely occupied with my own and public matters — 
the latter of which I intend to lop off— after doing what I conceive every citizen 
ought to do, a share of public duty which in some things I have already done.^ I 
have no taste for public life. When it comes to me it is shoved upon me, not 
sought. My disposition is for retirement. 

Dr. Williams left us in February. I have received a letter from him in N York. 
I expect he is at home by this time. He left here with the impression that if his 
health would permit, to remain at Newark. He thought his health improved 
much while here. W^e laughed at him so much about Dyspepsia that he did not 
complain at all before he left us. With all his peculiarities I expect he is a very 
good man. Tell Stoughton that I paid Lucy that debt that our Father owed her 
on Stephens account — and he need not fear a suit. I gave her a $20 bill the 
evening before she went away, with which she said she was satisfied. The original 
debt was $17 or $18. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 130 

We have had a cold winter and it is still a cold, backward Spring. Tell 
Stoughton that I want him to write home to T Kneland [ ? ] and give him 
instructions how to go on if he thinks of any thing worth writing. Perhaps Lucian 
will go on with Tim. I shall like to have him but I do not know that Tim will be 
willing to take the trouble of him. I got a letter a few days past from Jesse & his 
son Seymor, who is now living with his father at Keesville, a little town opposite 
Burlington on Lake Champlain. 

Our rival Jackson paper in this place Is discontinued.' I have no competition. 
My business is good and increasing, Mr. Toler very industrious and steady. 

Mary has been in the country for three weeks fixing her place for a summer 
retreat, preparing the garden &c. Tell Stoughton to write me and your Boys to 
write Sidney. You will do the best you can for me in Kentucky. Do you ever visit 
Wayne Co in your state? 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^ This is as close as Elijah ever came to mentioning his civic offices. Court records in Lynchburg show that 
he was first elected to the town council in Apr. 1828; reelected in 1829; and again in 1830, when he was 
made recorder. After his election in Apr. 1831, he was chosen from the council's membership as mayor, and 
served for one year. Five years later, in 1836, he was again elected to the council for a year's term. ^ The 
Jeffersonian Republican, founded by Achilles Johnson and Dr. John J. Cabell in 1828, became "more 
Jacksonian than Jeflersonian" and, unable to compete with Fletcher's and Toler's paper, subsided late in 
1831 (the [Lynchburg] Nitvs, Jan. 2, 1932, p. 2). 



Lynchburg 
November I2, 1832 
Dear Brother, 

I promised you to write soon after Tim's return from Vermont but I have 
neglected it, for he has been back nearly one month. He says he was so long 
detained in arranging the affairs at home. He could not for some time get a 
suitable tenant or one that suited Mother. He at last, however, rented out the 
Farm for five years to a Mr. Brown, Stock, plantation, utensils and everything. 
He is to give one half the nett proceeds of everything and return an equal value 
of Stock. He found it would not do to hire men and keep up the Farm and 
mother is unwilling to go away to live with any of her children. She wants to be 
independent. Susan, the girl that has lived with her so long, is hired to live with 
her still, but mother has no trouble or concern. She has one half the house, cellar 
&c. Tim says Capt Asa Fletcher^ offered to give him $3,000 for the Farm payable 
1st next March, but if we can properly keep it up it would be preferable, but it 
would not do to pay out two or three hundred dollars in money for labor to carry 
on the Farm, and it would take that much. I fear likewise that tenants will not do 
justice by it. Tim came home by Miles, whom he found well. He says that Dr 
Williams and Lucy talk of visiting you this coming winter. Miles has most given 



J 



PART II: 1830-1858 131 

out the idea of moving, at least this season. The prevalence of cholera and disease 
has converted many a plan the past season. 

Stoughton having entirely abandoned the idea of returning to Vermont will 
probably want the money that I shall be owing him on account of his property 
there. You can communicate with him about it. I hope he has not given out the 
idea of visiting me and spending the winter here. I should like very much to have 
him come and if he is not otherwise profitably engaged, I hope he will come. 

Your Legislature will soon be in Session and you again will have work enough 
to do. You must however find a little leisure to write me occasionally. I have 
nothing new to communicate. This is Sunday and a pleasant day. We had snow 
last week — a remarkably cool summer and a prospect for an early and cold 
winter. There seems to have been quite a change in our climate within a few 
years. 

The Presidential Election has commenced. There is no doubt of General 
Jacksons reelection. His popularity nothing can shake. 

This letter will hardly be worth 25 cents to you, but knowing you would feel 
some anxiety to hear of Tims return and what arrangements he had made, I 
thought I would drop you a short line. 

My respects to all your Family & Stoughton. Believe me, as ever, your 
Brother, 

E Fletcher 

^ Asa Fletcher (1782— ?)> 3 son of Jesse's brother Josiah, was postmaster of Ludlow from Oct. i, 1809, 
to Feb. 19, 1 81 1, when his brother Nathan took overj after the latter's departure from Ludlow in 1825, Asa 
served again for a little more than two years (Harris, op. cit.j p. 124). 



To Calvin Fletcher from Maria Fletcher 

It all ways distress's me to pay for blank paper. I will try and fill this space 
with something. Why dont you write me sometimes and let me know how all 
you[r] boys and girls are, their names and all about them. [I?] shall hope ere 
long to see some of you[r] boys travelling this way to school or on a visit. I am 
sure nothing would afford me more pleasure (except to see you) . My boys are 
going to school, they learn tolerable well, the girls are not old enough yet. I am 
not as fortunate as some parents, to think my children Cleverer and Prett\'er 
than any body else's. They are no better than my neighbours. [Mr. Fletcher.? ] 
talks sometimes of making you a visit [but? ] I think it is very doubtful, he has so 
many concerns to attend to. I persuade Tim sometimes to go, he has plenty of 
money and time. He has got to be a complete stingy old Bachalor, loves nothing 
but his money & his nigers. Give my best respects to Mrs Fletcher and give all 
the little boys a smack for your affectionate 

M A Fletcher 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 132 

Lynchburg 
Dec. 3, 1832 
Dear Brother, 

Last night I recvd your interesting and welcome letter. I hasten to reply to it 
though it is but a few days since I wrote you. I had been making preparations to 
send Stoughton his money, but at your suggestion will wait till I hear from you 
again. If you have not time to go to Kentucky yourself, would it not be well to 
send Stoughton when he returns, with instructions to wait till he gets the money? 
They want such close watching, it will be well to be present and not let the money 
now slip. Stoughton wrote that he would like to get $ 100 more than is coming to 
him from Tim on loan for a while. Tell him if he will go and get this money, I 
will lend him what may be over paying him after you are well paid for your 
trouble and expenses about this matter. Should there be any difficulties yet 
thrown in the way of getting this money, do not hesitate to give bribes to Sheriffs 
or Fees to Lawyers to secure and get it in hand. In fact I have considered it a 
lost debt and shall owe it entirely to your attention and management if it be ever 
saved and shall not feel satisfied if you do not pay yourself well out of it. 

This is Sunday night. Sidney & Lucian & myself have been reading Stories 
from a French book Sidney brought home from Sunday school today, till Lucian 
has gone to sleep and Sidney has taken the Book and continues reading. He is 
very fond of reading and learns pretty fast — has gotten in his Latin as far as 
Caesars bridge and is now getting out his timbers to construct a bridge in 
imitation of Caesar. Tim got a letter from home a few days past. All was well at 
home. They state that Jess wife died last Oct. of consumpsion and no other 
news. 

I write this more to suggest the plan of Stoughtons going to Kentucky as soon 
as he returns than any thing else. You can however manage the affair as you 
think best, and having written so short a time past, will write you no more. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 



Lynchburg 
April II, 1833 
Dear Brother, 

Your two last letters are unanswered. The last came to hand day before yes- 
terday. It contained pleasing information. I was happy to hear that you had at last 
brought my business in Kentucky to a close and I attribute it entirely to your 
indefatigable attention that it has been so successfully terminated. As I have 
always told you, I thought but little of this claim. It had been in existence for 
about 30 years and I knew too well the character of Lawyers, Sheriffs, and agents 
to expect much from them unless there was some one present who felt an interest 



PART II: 1830-1858 133 

in keeping them to the Track. Tell Stoughton that I think he has become a man 
of business and that I am much pleased and give him many thanks for what he 
has done for me. I presume that Cockes acct. is correct, still I do not exactly 
understand it, yet I am satisfied with my share and shall say nothing farther 
about the matter. 

Your other letter not replied to related to your resignation of office.' I think 
you terminated your political career very happily with an eclat honorable to you. 
To the world it appeared }-ou were making great sacrifices for high and 
conscientious scruples, that you had rather give up office which is held so dear by 
most all than violate a moral sense of right. As you intended so soon to retire 
from political life, the incident was a fortunate one. No party could complain and 
all must approve. 

The change which you speak of from the Bar to the Bench I can hardly give 
you advice about. With my disposition, fond of retiring & not pleased with 
scuffling and mingling with the multitude, I should delight in such a transfer. 
Still with one whose aspirations are great the bar [is? ] probably the better 
Theatre. As to profits, you can the better judge. 

You inform me that Stoughton has concluded to commence a mercantile 
business with two gentlemen of your place." I hope he has made a prudent choice 
of associates. His success depends much on this. His little experience in this kind 
of business will give his partners great advantages over him, but if they are 
honest men he may not suffer. He has a little capital to commence with but it is 
much greater than any of his brothers had. It is to be hoped he will make good 
use of it and I doubt not he will. Your brotherly advise and counsel will be of 
much service to him. It will be very gratifj'ing to you to have a Brother living in 
the same place with yourself while you are so far removed from the rest of your 
connections. You must not let Stoughton abandon his Studies and the 
improvement of his mind, particularly in those branches which relate to his 
business — Arithmetic, Writing and Book keeping. It gives me much pleasure to 
be able to compl\' with your request in loaning the money to Stoughton. He may 
pay the interest annually that the amount may not increase. It will be better for 
him. I have obtained a draft for $400 and this day transmitted it to Messrs Siter, 
Price & Co, Philadelphia,' writing them that it was for the benefit of Messrs 
Ungles?, Bradly & Fletcher of Indianapolis.** You did not write the name of the 
first Partner plain. You wish me to write you plainly on this subject and I assure 
you from the sincerity of my heart that I do this cheerfully and shall never 
regret it, I hope. In fact I never regretted any favor it has been in my power to do 
my brothers or any of my relations. If Stoughton will use it prudently and 
prosper with it, it will rejoice me much. 

I have not heard from home lately. Sidney wrote to his Grandmother that if 
they would get a good Latin School' at Proctersville he would go on there this 
summer and go to school. How would you like to send one of your boys there to 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 134 

go to school? What sort of schools have you at Indianapolis? I told Sidney you 
said you would be Stoughtons Security for the money and asked him if it would 
do to trust him. Oh, yes, he promptly replied, I would trust Uncle Stoughton 
without Security. Sidney still entertains the greatest love and respect for his 
Uncle Stoughton and recounts the days he spent in Vermont as his happiest and is 
very anxious to return there. 

Give my love to all and believe me, as ever, yours sincerely, 

E Fletcher 

^Calvin resigned from the state senate Jan. 26, 1833 (Riker and Thornbrough, op. cit., p. 218). ^ On 
Feb. 13, 1833, Calvin recorded the following in his diary: "Bradly & Ungles came to my office to advise with 
me relative to their preparing to go after goods immediately with Stoughton & they among them raising two 
thousand dollars. I rather discouraged the preceptancy [precipitancy?]." ^ Siter, Price & Co., Importers, 

is the firm's listing in the 1848 edition of McElroy's Philadelphia City Directory, p. 326. * "Upon his 

arrival in Indianapolis [in 1831] the young man [Stoughton] secured a position as clerk in a general store, 
and later he engaged in the same line of enterprise on his own responsibility, becoming one of the pioneer 
merchants of Indianapolis, even as was he one of its pioneers in the banking business. ... In 1839, about 
eight years after coming to Indiana, he felt himself justified in opening a private banking establishment" 
(Dunn, op. cit., II, 1128-29). 



Lynchburg 
July II, 1833 
Dear Brother, 

I received a short time ago yours concerning the Bond for $400 with a 
statement about the balance of the Kentucky money. I would prefer having it all 
included in one note. You speak of compensation to Stoughton for his trip to 
Kentucky. That must be left to himself, should he think of charging. I thought 
perhaps as he was at the time not much engaged in business, and as it was a trip 
that made him acquainted with an interesting section of the country, and as it was 
not very fashionable for us Brothers to charge each other for little services, and as 
the loan might be some little accommodation, and as the property bought of him 
is entirely unproductive to me and for the benefit of our mother,^ and in fact I 
shall probably never realize a cent for it, and for a few other reasons that might 
be mentioned — but I will say nothing about it. Let him make what charge he 
pleases besides his expenses, it shall be paid him. Whether Interest ought to be 
calculated on the $400 that would be due him until he finally decided not to 
return to Ludlow or not, you can decide, for there was no sale until he made such 
decision. He gave me, when we paid, his Bond for $341.21, the money paid last 
of August 1 83 1 and [gave? ] no title to the property till last summer, but we 
must not be particular with each other. You and Stoughton must settle the matter 
as you think right and send me a Bill including all and I will return the one you 
sent. I feel more anxious for his prosperity and welfare than for a few dollars and 
cents. I am afraid, from what I hear from home, that things are going on badly 
there and that the tenant on the farm is not doing justice. There is no telling 
what an expense this matter has been to me from first to last. Had I now all the 



PART II: 1830-1858 135 

money that I have transmitted to Ludlow since I first left it, it would be a 
handsome estate. 

I will write to Stoughton in a few days. He has made a favorable start and I 
hope and expect will do well. Michaels son Richardson is with us— he came on 
about a month ago. I have put him with Mr. Evans, who has enlarged his 
business and making money." It will be a good business for Richardson and he 
seems very well contented. He is a fine boy but a little awkward and knows little 
of the world. My family are spending the summer at my plantation. Tim has 
gone over there to day. I am pretty closely confined at home — ride out there 
about once a week and spend a day. 

Either Tim or myself will visit Ludlow next summer. It would give me great 
pleasure to meet you there. You must write to me often. I will redeem your Bond 
as likewise the one I hold of Stoughton, when you send the new one. 

Give my best respects to all, and believe me, as ever, your Brother, 

E Fletcher 

From your statement the amount collected in Kentucky after deducting 
expenses was $529. 

^Elijah, In order to keep the farm in the family, bought out Stoughton's Inheritance, as he had agreed to do 
in Aug. 1831 if Stoughton should elect not to return to Ludlow. ^ Mr. Evans' confectionery shop has been 

mentioned in letters of Dec. 5, 1830, and Jan. 27, 1831. 



Lynchburg 
Aprils, 1834 
Dear Brother, 

It is sometime since I have recevd a letter from you, but as there should be no 
ceremony between us, I write you a few lines. I have never recevd any reply to 
mine about letting Stoughton have money to extend his business and conclude 
that you have made other arrangements, which I think is well. I know a little the 
danger of extensive business, even with those much experienced. How much 
greater is it with those whose opportunities have been limited in acquiring a 
knowledge of mercantile business.'' 

I see from your papers that you are to have a plenty of money among you 
shortly and that you are appointed one of the Directors of your new Bank.^ When 
your Bank goes into opperation it will probably have a tendency to enhance the 
price of property and those who have bought at low prices will no doubt be 
benefitted by it. I have observed here that the great favorites at Bank and those 
who dealt largely [with it? ] were ultimately little benefitted, if not ruined. It 
will not do to buy property to hold and enjoy with borrowed money. Merchants 
& speculators may use Bank accommodation to advantage but Family and 
professional characters should have but little to do with the institutions. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 136 

Have you given out the idea of visiting the north this summer? Tim will 
probably start in June. Perhaps Lucian will go with him. Maria says if you come 
on this way, she will go as far as NYork with you [if .^ ] not all the way. We have 
at last gotten something like spring weather. We have had late and repeated 
frosts and the crop of fruit mostly cut off. 

Politics in this part of the country produce much excitement. Our annual 
elections commenced last week and will be each successive Monday during this 
month. Though many of the intelligent men have abandoned Jackson, still there 
are Demagogues and office hunters enough to chaunt his praise and endeavor to 
lead the common people astray. 

I do not intend personally to worry myself about politics. I feel anxious for the 
welfare of my country. I leave the management of the Virginian most altogether 
to Mr. Toler, who has no other employment, and who is very popular as Editor. 
I have other concerns enough to engage my attention and almost too many for 
my pleasure. I would like very much and intend to try to diminish them. 

You must remember me to your Family and Stoughton. Tell Stoughton I 
shall not charge him any interest on his note for the first year, as he made it 
somewhat larger than I intended it. Let me hear from you often. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^ Calvin was one of four appointed by the legislature to organize a state bank, and to act as a sinking fund 
commissioner (Dunn, op. cit., II, 645). The State Bank of Indiana was chartered Jan. 28, 1834, and its first 
directors included Calvin Fletcher (Sulgrove, op cit., p. 120). Under this charter he was also a director of 
the Indianapolis Branch when it was organized later that year. 



Lynchburg 
Feb. 16, 1835 

I have been little neglectful in writing you. I have waited some time to get the 
evidence you want for the Revolutionary claims, which has not yet come to hand.^ 
I addressed the Commissioner of Revolutionary claims on the subject and so soon 
as I get the Testimony you want, will forward it to you. Mr. Brown came 
through Richmond but had not time to attend to the matter. He leaves here 
tomorrow for Indiana by way of N York. 

Several other gentlemen from this neighborhood will move in the Spring to 
the place he lives at. Some of them will pass through your town and request 
me to introduce them to you by letter, which I shall do. They are men of stand- 
ing and respectability. Some others will go in the fall if they can effect a sale 
of their possessions here. Still there is not much more of a disposition for emigrat- 
ing from this part of the country than usual. Some who go may better their 
situations, others may wish themselves back. For my part, I feel contented and 
probably shall never change my location. Maria Is anxious to move & quite rest- 



PART II: 1830-1858 137 

less. She was talking the other day of taking a Spring trip with Sidney to 
Kanawha," Louisville, Indianapolis, to the Lakes and around through the 
northern States. Have you any good Academy at Indianapolis to fit a Boy for 
Colleger 

Sidney is prettj' well advanced in his Latin and Greek and I think I shall 
prepare him for Yale College as soon as I can. Had you a good school, I would as 
soon let him visit you and spend 6 month and get acquainted with your Boys. I 
feel anxious that our children should form an acquaintance and an affection for 
each other while young. But his time is precious to him now and it would not do 
to let him go without he could continue his studies. It is not probably that I can 
visit you this spring, but should I live, will do so before many years. I shall 
expect Stoughton to come this way on his northern Trip this Spring. He may 
bring me the mares if he thinks proper, but I would hardh' advise him to bring 
others for Sale here. It is not a very good market for horses and it might take him 
too long to dispose of them. He may get for me 4 or 5 such as I described, if he 
finds it convenient. I had expected he would have sent for some money as you 
proposed but suppose you have made other arrangements. Do not let him get any 
mares that are not of the description I wrote you — quite large. 

We have had a good deal of cold weather this winter, some colder than hardlv 
ever experienced in this Section. But we have all enjoyed fine health. I generally 
spend about two days in each week at my plantation. I find it very agreeable to 
leave town once a week and superintend my farming operations. 

I shall withdraw myself after this year ver\- much from my Printing Office. I 
am making arrangements with Mr Toler to take the whole burthen of that upon 
himself, so far as its management &c extends. You must write me to let me know 
when I may expect to see Stoughton. If Maria should visit the West, probably 
Tim would accompany her. Respects to Stoughton and all your Famil\\ 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

After closing this letter' and putting it in the Post Office I received from 
Richmond a letter from Jno H. Smith, Commissioner for Revolutionary Claims 
in this state, returning back your memorandum given Mr Brown with [torn] 
thereon. I enclose both to you that you may see the state of affairs here. 

EF 

^ This apparently refers to claims arising out of Jesse Fletcher's two brief periods of service in the Mas- 
sachusetts militia during the Revolutionary War. ^ Kanawha City was a post-village on the Great 
Kanawha River, four miles from Charleston, now West Virginia {Lippincoit's Gazetteer [Philadelphia, 
1905], p. 927). ^ The letter was marked: "Mailed Feb. 20, 1835. Recvd March 4, 1835." 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 138 

Lynchburg 
May 5, 1835 
Dear Brother, 

The bearer, Mr John Raid, is on his way to locate in the northern part of your 
State.^ He has been long a most respectable citizen of this place and a particular 
Friend of mine. Lucian has for several years been to school to him. It will be 
highly gratifying to me to have you pay that attention to him that will render 
him at home in a Strange Country. You will find him worthy your esteem and 
Friendship. I wrote to Stoughton by the last mail and need not be more 
particular now. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^ John Reld, a younger brother of the Reverend William S. Reid, operated a school in Lynchburg for some 
years "and he was remarkable for steady discipline" (Margaret A. Cabell, Sketches and Recollections of 
Lynchburg [Richmond, 1858], p. 152). An early advertisement for his school appeared in the (Lynchburg) 
Press in 1815 ^The Saga of a City^ p. 40). 

Lynchburg 
March 7, 1836 
Dear Brother, 

You have cause to complain of my neglect in writing. I acknowledge I have 
recvd two or three letters without having answered them and I have the less 
excuse for so doing when your letters always afford me so much pleasure. Does 
increasing age make us more indifferent to our Friends and relations? I do not 
[think] it has that effect with me. Does it make us more supine and slow in 
performing our duties? I cannot think it has yet that effect upon me. I shall have 
to leave the matter without excuse. 

It gave me great satisfaction to hear by my acquaintances, who have returned 
from a visit to your state the last year, of your standing as a man, a Lawyer, and 
of your success in business. It makes me feel happy and proud to think I have a 
Brother possessing and deserving so good a name. 

I shall not revert back to answer individually your unanswered letters but 
write on in my old dry style to let you know that we are all well and travelling on 
the journey of life in our old ofttrodden path. We are all blest with the best of 
health. Sidney and Lucian and Indiana and Betty all go to school. Sidney is as 
large as I am. I calculate to fit him to enter Yale College next August 1 2 months. 
Lucian thinks more of his Bows and arrows and fighting Indians that his Books. 
Tim expects to spend the ensuing Summer in the North. I shall be glad if you can 
get Michael to move into your neighborhood. I doubt not you will be able to do 
it if his wife can feel reconciled to leave her Dutch Friends. 

We have had a cold winter, and the snow is still on the ground here. Still I do 
not think it as bad as last Winter. The cold was more regular and longer 



PART II: 1830-1858 139 

continuance but not at any time so extreme, nor have we had so many cold wet 
Sleets and rains. 

Your acquaintance Dr. Landon Cabell is now as Aide with Gen Scott in the 
South.' The piece in our last paper in reply to Dr Rose" is from Patrick H 
Cabell,' with whom you became acquainted last summer. 

Our great James River Canal,^ that has been so long talked about, has at last 
been undertaken and Laborers are now at work upon it. They are now excavating 
a Basin for this town at the foot of my garden. This country is rather in a State 
of prosperity, notwithstanding the immense emigration to all parts of the 
Western and Southwestern country. 

I occasionally hear from Home and often from Miles, as he furnishes us with 
our paper. Mother seems well pleased with Mr Bates who carries on the Farm 
now. You know he must be a wonderful man to please her. I think I shall 
persuade Tim either to go or come through Indiana on his way to or from the 
north next summer, as he will go up the Canal to see his Sisters. It will not be so 
much out of the line of Direction. 

You must continue to write me, not regarding my slothfulness in answering. I 
told Lucian the other day, if he finds any one going to Indiana this spring he 
might go along and spend his summer with his Uncle Calvin. He says he can go 
alone without any company, that he is not afraid of loosing the way. 

Give my best respects to all your Family and believe me, as ever, your 
Brother, 

E Fletcher 

' Dr. Cabell, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Dept., lived in Lynchburg for a time 
after his marriage in 1829, then moved to Richmond. After his wife's death in 1834, he went to Europe 
twice for his health, then went to Texas (Brown, op. cit., p. 433). "Dr. Gustavus Rose (1789—1858) 

married Ann S. Garland, daughter of David S. Garland, in 1816 (Amherst County Register of Marriages, 
I, 241). He left his home and practice in Lynchburg in 1835 and took his family to Indiana. In a letter 
written in December of that year from "Salisbury plane near La Porte," he expressed great satisfaction with 
his move to the west and his investment "in rich land at $1.25 an acre near Lake Michigan." The letter was 
addressed to William M. Waller (1789—1849) of New Glasgow, who married Sarah Garland in 1824 (Reg- 
ister of Marriages, I, 278). Dr. Rose urged Waller to move to Indiana, adding: "I again repeat, that I thank 
God, I have not only escaped from Slavery itself, but all the insidious evils consequent upon it, to the rising 
generation in the South" {William and Mary Quarterly [Williamsburg, Va., 1930] 2nd ser., X, 312-13). 
Dr. Rose "was an eminent physician ... in the county for sixteen years. He was an Associate Judge of the 
County, and identified with its interests and growth" {History of LaPorte County, Indiana [Chicago, 1880], 
p. 656). ^Patrick H. Cabell practiced medicine in Lynchburg, was married in 1826, and died in 1838 

(Brown, op. cit., pp. 346—47). ^ The canal had been a subject for debate and speculation for several 

decades. Before a decision was reached regarding its extension to Lynchburg, railroads entered the picture, 
precipitating further debate. By 1831 "the entire attention of the citizens was turned to the Lynchburg and 
New River Railroad. ... In July, E. Fletcher, mayor, called a public meeting to plan the work. . . . The 
road now seemed assured, and on Jan. 9, 1832, the company was organized. . . . The enterprise, however, 
was not so secure as the citizens thought, for the legislature refused to subscribe to two-fifths of the stock on 
behalf of the State, and on Mar. 16, 1832, incorporated the James River and Kanawha Canal Co. This killed 
the railroad, and on May 28 the enterprise was dropped." Commissioners appointed by the legislature then 
opened subscription books of the canal company, but the response was slow, as times were hard and money 
scarce. In Jan. 1835, Lynchburg decided to take the thousand shares of stock allotted to it by the state. "Work 
was begun near the town and the citizens eagerly watched to see what would come of the canal" (Christian, 
op. cit., pp. no— 12). 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 140 

Lynchburg 
Apr. 22, 1836 
Dear Brother, 

I received a few days past yours giving the information that Michael and his 
Family had arrived at Indianapolis. I am very much pleased with this 
arrangement and though he always seemed contented to be "a hewer of wood 
and drawer of water" for the Aristocrats on the Hudson, it seems to me he must 
be much better situated on a little snug farm of his own in your fertile country.^ 
We feel very much disposed to gratify him in letting Richeson come to Indiana, 
but before he started I thought I would write and suggest some means that might 
make you and himself think best to let him remain here awhile longer. He seems 
himself a little indisposed to leave here when I suggested to him the idea, but 
said he would go if we all advised it. Tim, you know, is [a] little peculiar in his 
turn [of phrase] and when I suggested it to him, he observed that you and I 
always had some foolish project or other in our heads. He said that his and Mr 
Evans^ intention was to give him, when of age, which will be in less than two 
years, a $ lOOO to go away with or if he preferred to remain in the business as now 
is, to let him take the management of it and one half the profits. Which would 
not be less to him than $ 1 000 a year. Evans intended to give up his business when 
his present lease is out, which will be about the time Richeson becomes of age. 
You must regard these as only suggestions which you and Stoughton and 
Michael can take into consideration and act as you think proper, and if you think 
best under these circumstances for Richeson to come out, he shall start 
immediately. But in that case Tim seems not disposed to give him anything. I 
feel a little anxious for one of my Boys to come out and spend some time with 
you, and have thought if your College which you speak of would be a good place 
for Sidney to prepare himself for Yale College, I would have no objection to his 
coming and staying till next summer. Where is the College you speak of 
situated? What are the probable annual expenses? Latin and Greek are the 
branches he would study. 

Dr. Cabell, who has returned from the Florida War,^ told me yesterday that 
he was about to start by the way of Washington to Indiana. Dr. Cobbs will 
return, he says, in June but I believe does not intend carrying his Family.* The 
advance of Property in vour State they all describe as rapid beyond prudent. 
Your investments will no doubt make you independent. Would it not be prudent 
to take advantage of the present speculating mania [to] pare off some portions of 
your lands. Are they not now [more? ] than their intrinsic value? And will they 
not soon find more promised Land in Ouisconsin or farther West? Are these 
times to lastr^ Let us look back and profit by experience. [Is] it possible 
that Lands can be intrinsically as valuable within a few miles of Laporte or 
within the same distance of Philadephia or N York? I am told they now 
sell about as high. 




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PART II: 1830-1858 141 

In what I have said about Richeson, you must consider that you and I have but 
one object to consider. Our feelings are the same — a desire for his welfare — and 
you must judge whether it be best for him to go west. For some reasons, I should 
prefer his going and should you think that it is better for him to go, we will have 
him prepared and started off soon. But Tim and Mr Evans, I do not think, 
would in that event give him any thing. Write me soon in reply. Our long winter 
has hardly left us. We are just beginning to plant corn. Tim will go on in June. 
Whether he will go by Indiana is doubtful as his movements generally are, or at 
least as he generally likes to go his own way. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^Michael was listed as a farmer in the 1850 Census of Indianapolis^ p. 484. ^ This would indicate 

that Timothy was a business associate of Evans. ^ The uprising of the Seminole Indians, who were 

angered at being moved from their tribal lands. ■* This is the same Dr. Cobbs who was mentioned In 
Elijah's letters of Nov. 6, 1812, and Feb. 7, 1813, and was referred to, unnamed, In the letter of Nov. 29, 
181 1. In 1829 Dr. John P. Cobbs was a legatee and one of the executors of the estate of Sarah Henry 
Meredith Armistead, his wife's aunt (Amherst County Will Book, VII, 251); in 1833 he was a justice In 
Nelson County {Virginia Magazine of History and Biography [Richmond, 1913], XXI, 191). That he 
was active in land sales in Indiana Is indicated In the letter from Dr. Rose to William Waller (see letter of 
Mar. 7, 1836, n.2): "Should you be so unfortunate as not to be able to explore, permit me to urge you to 
invest, and believe me when I say. Investments made by Dr. Cobbs are notoriously superior to those of any 
other person, because of the great labour he bestowed in exploring the country sold, and to be sold" {\Vm. 
and Alary Quart., 2nd ser., X, 313). Dr. Cobbs was among the organizers of a loan company In La Porte, 
Ind., in 1839 (E. D. Daniels, A Tztentieth Century History and Biographical Record of La Porte County, 
Indiana [Chicago, 1904], pp. 217—18). ^Elijah, a conservative business man, correctly judged the alarm- 

ing and uncontrolled extension of credits for land speculation which precipitated the "Wild Cat Crisis," or 
Panic of 1837. 



Lynchburg 
May 21, 1836 
Dear Brother, 

Yours was recvd by last mail and to relieve anxiety, I have hastened to reply. 
You need only have said, "We all think it best under the circumstances that 
Richardson should leave Virginia for Indiana" and the request would have been 
complied with. No one has any feeling or wish to keep him here independent of 
his own welfare. For my part, as I told Stoughton last summer, I am rather 
anxious for him to go. I only suggested his prospects here and expected his 
Father and mother would have been actuated more by discretion than feeling in 
consulting his future interests. But with his prospects here, no doubt he will do as 
well with you, and I think it as well that he be near his parents — more 
particularly as the affections of their hearts are so entwined around him. Tell 
them Richardson shall start so soon as a little preparation can be made in the way 
of clothing &c and come on in the Stage &c. Tell them not to be too impatient 
should he not start from here in two weeks. He is in good health and I think a 
much better constitution than when he came among us and if no accident befalls 
him they will see him shortly. He is a very moral, correct, honest and obedient 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 142 

Boy. I have no doubt will do well. Tim will not start for the north before the 
middle or last of June and if [he] visits you at all, it will be on his return. 

As I write this only to assure you that Richardson shall come on, you will 
excuse my saying more as the mail is about to close. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

P.S. You must assure Michael that Timo. has not the least unpleasant feeling 
in parting with Richardson. In fact when I received your first letter he was 
anxious for R to start off immediately but I thought it best to write you and 
consult for the future welfare of R. 



Lynchburg 
June 28, 1836 
Dear Brother, 

This is forwarded by Richardson, who I hope will arrive safely to the joy of 
his Parents. His departure has been somewhat delayed longer than I intended. 
He has been a little indisposed for a few weeks past from some imprudence in 
eating cherries. You will find him, if not the most energetick and enterprising, a 
correct, obliging, honest and fine young man that can in all things be trusted. 

I think as he has started, it will not be best for him to return but settle where 
he may be company, consolation, and assistance to his Parents, who I hope have 
not made themselves unhappy by his not reaching them sooner. 

Tim will start for the north about the ist of July and be absent two or three 
months. I have recommended on his return to pass through Indiana. He got a 
letter last week from his mother and all were well. 

This is a warm and wet day and I am at home all alone. Maria and all the chil- 
dren are over at the Plantation where they generally spend the summer months. 
Lucian has taken his hoe and gone to work with the overseer. Sidney goes to 
school here but Friday evenings goes to the Plantation and stays till Sunday 
evening. Tim has gone to Fincastle, Botetourt County, to visit an old woman who 
some few years ago adopted him and gave him her estate amounting to 7 or 8,000 
dollars. He generally visits her twice a year. 

It is a rainy and gloomy day. In fact we have had most constant rains for six 
weeks past. Corn field much in the grass, and wheat and rye crops much injured. 
Harvest is just commencing. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 



PART II: 1830-1858 143 

Lynchburg 
July 9, 1836 
Dear Brother, 

I received \'ours by last mail. Richeson started a week ago yesterday in the 
stage for Indianapolis and before this reaches )0U, I trust will be safely with you. 
I was sorry to hear Richardson had written such a letter to his Father. I think 
him a little unwilling to go at first, which was the cause probably of his writing 
the letter. I have no doubt, however, after reaching Indianapolis and staying 
awhile, he will be pleased with the change. I hope it will be better for him and do 
not think it right for him to return. I do not know what expressions Tim made to 
him, but you know Tim — that he is sometimes petulant and foolish in his hasty 
expressions. Still he is kind and affectionate to his relations and prompt to assist 
them. Nothing more ought to be thought about this matter. Assure Michael and 
his wife that it is best for Richardson to be near them and though we all loved 
and esteemed him, we think his future prospects and their happiness will be 
promoted by his removal. I well know the West is a fine place for young men and 
that it only requires correct habits for them to insure prosperity. 

You must not be too timid about your speculations. There will not be any 
immediate reverse of affairs and }'ou will, I think, have time to make a good 
disposition of your speculations and I shall expect to see )ou and your Family in 
[Ludlow.^ ] this summer. Bring one of your sons with you and I will let Lucian 
return with you and keep your boy — make a swap for a year. 

Dr Cabell has gone to England, sailed the 1 6th last month. His object is to 
sell l/iere his Indiana Lands. He has gotten the description of them from Dr 
Cobbs, appended to which he got me and others to certify that full faith and 
reliance could be placed on the Doctors statement. Dr. Cobbs starts in a few days 
for Indiana and is Cabells agent, but whether to dispose of his lands I know 
not. 

Tell Stoughton that I received last IMonday his letter containing $30. He 
wished me to write concerning it but you can tell him that it reached its 
destination. 

Tim starts next week for the north. We are all well. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 144 

Lynchburg 
Nov. 2nd, 1836 
Dear Brother, 

I last week received by Joshua R Brown your letter dated August. He had kept 
it in his pocket till that time, saying he understood you wished him to deliver it in 
person. So you will understand the reason why I made no reply about taking your 
Bank Stock. I should have replied favorably to your wish. As you have said 
nothing about this matter in your last, you doubtless have made some other 
arrangement. If not, I will still aid you in the matter as you may wish. 

Your last letter came two days after the one handed me by Mr Brown and 
with it I was much pleased. It will give me much pleasure to have you visit me 
this winter as you think there is a prospect. Should you defer it till Spring or 
summer and will come by, I will go on to the north with you. I have some idea of 
taking on my family. Sidney will enter Yale College next year and perhaps go on 
as early as April to attend awhile the preparation School,^ and perhaps Maria and 
the two little girls may go on in the summer for the purpose [of] attending a 
boarding school and spending a year or two. Lucian I hardly know what to do 
with as [he] will learn nothing at school and thinks of little but his Gun and 
amusements. I have now got him writing and copying in my office, merely to 
learn him to write and the use of figures. 

Next week comes on our Presidential Election and I shall rejoice when it is 
over.^ I am for myself pretty sick of politics while you seem to have some notion 
of entering anew into them. You wrote me I think some time past you had some 
idea of abandoning the practice of the Law. Should you do that and find your 
chance a [ .'' ] sure one for election, I think it would not much injure your business 
to try it. But while you feel an interest in your profitable pursuits and wish an 
increase of them, I should think a political [career? ] injurious. But at all events 
do not offer to be defeated.^ 

Tim returned home earlier than I expected. He thinks affairs are going on 
pretty well at home, but the early frosts and colds make every thing look very 
gloomy there. In fact, I hardly see how the people get along there with their 
long season of cold & snow. Our winters here are becoming quite too [severe? ] . 
We have had quite a cold fall. October began here with snow and there has been 
several since. I shall be pleased to receive — as I doubtless shall — your 
Agricultural address. We are just beginning our Agricultural Shows here and 
they are exciting much interest.^ 

You can let me know whether you can or will visit us this winter; if not here, 
we can make our calculations to meet next summer. It would give me much 
pleasure to take an eastern excursion with you. You must write me often and need 
not fear writing two letters to my one. I am proverbially lazy in corresponding 
with my friends. 

Give my best respects to your Family, Stoughton and his wife, and 



PART II: 1830-1858 145 

Richardson} and I must repeat, if the use of $2 or $3000 will in any way promote 
your prosperity in purchasing the stock you named, I will cheerfully furnish it at 
most any time. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

[Written on the back of the letter by Calvin Fletcher:] 

Mes. Bolton & Livingston." 

Permit me thro' your paper to state to my friends whose partiality had induced 
them to solicit me to become a candidate to fill the vacancy which has occurred 
in this Congressional district, that circumstances which I could not controle 
renders it improper for me at this time to canvass for that office. 

^Sidney attended a private school near Lynchburg taught by the Reverend Nicholas H. Cobbs (1796— 
1861]. In preparation for his entr>' Into Yale, he later went to the Classical school taught by Edward L. Hart 
(Yale, 1836) at New Haven (.Yale Record Book, Class of 1841 [New Haven, 1892], p. 106). ^Martin 

Van Buren (1782-1862), Democrat, defeated William Henry Harrison (1773-184.1) in this election. 
^ Calvin had been asked to run for Congress, "but declined, saying that he preferred to adhere to his profes- 
sion and educate his children" {D.A.B., VI, 464). What is apparently a first draft of his decision was written 
at the end of this letter and is reprinted here. * Early in 1837, after several attempts had been made to 

organize an agricultural fair in Lynchburg, the Agricultural Society and Mechanical Institute was established 
and in Oct. held its first fair (Christian, op. cif., pp. 122-23). ^Nathaniel Bolton and John Livingston 

published the Indiana Democrat in Indianapolis at this date (Dunn, op. cit., I, 3S8). 



Lynchburg 
March 31, 1837 
Dear Calvin, 

You will see from my long silence and I am as neglectful as ever. I believe I 
have reed one or two letters from you since making any reply and perhaps I 
should hardly have written this, had I not just received a letter from our mother 
stating that you wrote her that if I came on this Season you would meet me there. 
I have concluded to go on with Sidney to Yale College about the middle of May 
and will be in Ludlow about the i st of June and should be glad that you could 
make it convenient to be there at that time. It is rather sooner than I should have 
preferred to go on, had not Sidney wanted then to enter college. You will have 
time to answer this in time for me to make my Calculations. Miles talked some of 
visiting Indiana this Spring or summer. Have you heard any thing from him on 
that subject.'' 

I received by Dr. Cobbs your letter. He has been in Washington most of the 
time since but is here now, I believe, making arrangements to remove his Family 
to the West.' He thinks he has made himself rich by his Western speculations. I 
hope he has, for there is no more worthy man. I received a letter from 
Richardson a few days past and was grateful to learn that he was contented and 
that his Father and all were doing well. He wrote a very correct and neat letter. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 146 

I have been somewhat more than usual engaged In refitting the Virginian 
office. Tim went on to N York after the conflagration and purchased new 
materials. He was with Miles a few days. Saving all my important [Books? ] and 
papers, I did not much mind the loss. I had secured a partial insurance on the 
material, to amt of $2000. Lucian is now at School in a neighboring County about 
40 miles distant, and when Sidney goes away we shall be so lonesome, that you 
must let us have one of your Boys to keep us company. 

The early part of our winter was steady, severe, cold weather, but since the 
middle of February the weather has been pleasant and the spring is quite 
forward. We are now beginning to plant corn. 

Should you conclude to meet me in Vermont from the ist to lOth June, you 
must write immediately. Likewise write to Miles and get him to meet us there. 

Give my respects to all and believe me, as ever, your Brother, 

E Fletcher 

^ Dr. Cobbs took his family first to La Porte, and later to Michigan City, Ind. In Aug. 1839, his wife, 
Jane M. Garland Cobbs, wrote to her sister, Henrietta Garland Boyd, at Lovingston in Nelson County, Va.: 
'*We have been living In Michigan City since the middle of May. . . . Dr. Cobbs has had as many as three 
returns of chills and fever since our removal.'* She speaks of "a considerable revival of religion in La Porte 
since I left there, under the preaching of two baptist ministers. Jane and Judith Rose [her nieces] . . . are 
among those who have professed religion i also Mr. John Reld's eldest son and daughter" (see letter of 
May 5, 1835). The climate and location are to blame for "much sickness in this place. . . . Wells fail In 
summer . . . moschetos are a great annoyance, sand and fleas are nuisances. ... If we cannot have health 
here. Dr. Cobbs says he will move away, I fear farther north" {Wm. and Mary Quart. ^ 2nd set., X, 
31S-16). 



Lynchburg 

Apr. 15, 1837 
Dear Brother, 

I wrote you a few days past that I should start the lOth May for New Haven 
with Sidney and thought it might be convenient for you to meet me about the ist 
June in Vermont. Since then Miles has written that he intended visiting Indiana 
in May and would return this way and that you would come with him. This 
arrangement will suit very well. I will be back here again by the 15th June, 
which will be as soon as you would get to this place, and I shall be happy to meet 
you. I will just run up to Ludlow from New Haven and stay a day or two and 
then on home. We must not, with our varied movements, miss getting together 
this summer. It will give me great pleasure to meet with you here and should you 
not wish to go north this summer, I will meet you there most any summer here 
after. I feel rejoiced that you had such solicitude last summer to close your specu- 
lations and arrange your affairs before the Tempest and storm came.^ I hope you 
have so far succeeded as not to feel sensibly the present universal pecuniary 
distress. 

I write this merely to consult about our summer movements and shall make 



PART II: 1830-1858 147 

you pay postage on some blank paper. You will write me immediately. You know 
my arrangements and you can regulate yours as best suits. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^ In a move to check the wild land speculations, President Jackson Issued the Specie Circular In July 1836, 
which required all payments for public lands to be made in specie. This cramped the operations of banks that 
had financed western land speculations. A mounting financial crisis In England caused British creditors to call 
in their loans, and American crop failures lessened the purchasing power of the farmers. On May 10, 1837, 
the New York banks suspended specie payments, and they were followed by most banks In the country 
(James T. Adams, ed., Dictionary of American History [New York, 1940], IV, 208). 



Lynchburg 
May 3, 1837 
Dear Brother, 

I have just received yours of 22nd May [April.' ] and had feared that the 
pending and approaching storm would require your personal attention to 
manage, if not your own, the shipwrecked affairs of many of your friends and 
neighbors. I fear the Whirlwind, which has laid prostrate the southern rich 
cotton country and the mercantile wealth of the eastern cities will not pass lightly 
over your northwestern country. These things I have been anticipating but must 
confess they have come upon us one year sooner than I expected, but their effects 
will be felt for many years.^ I think you had much self command to take the stand 
you did and commence so soon to sell out and realize some of your speculations. 
The great difficulty is in times of high excitement in speculation to be self 
poised, to know when to stop and sell enough to square accounts, so that times of 
scarcity and pressure which most always succeed may find you with property but 
no money to [pay.' ] . 

I have touched nothing for many years but what was paid for in hand and 
though my prop [erty.' ] may be estimated thousands of dollars less than in times 
past, it is worth as much to me. It is paid for, there is no encumbrance upon it and 
I can keep it. I hope you will get out safe without sacrifising. You made a good 
beginning and I trust there is not much to do to make you [.'']. 

You will have received a second letter from me after the one to which yours of 
the 22nd is a reply. You will see from that that Miles will visit you and perhaps 
return this way. If you can conveniently come on with him, come ; if not, send 
your son, for Lucian is now at School and Sidney will soon be away. Write to me 
as soon as you get this to Ludlow whether you will come on with Miles. I shall 
start with Sidney next week, the loth instant, and will be ver\' punctual to be back 
by the 1 5th June if you conclude to come on ; otherwise I might loiter a little 
more by the way. We have had a cold and backward spring — frosts this week such 
as to kill our snaps and corn &c. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 148 

It has been a long while since I have been absent from home and business. It 

seems inconvenient for me to leave, but I hope a relaxion from my usual pursuits 

and a little travelling will be useful and pleasant. 

Give my best respects to Stoughton, Michael, Richardson, your own Family 

and all, and believe me sincerely your Friend & Brother, 

E Fletcher 



^The Panic of 1837 resulted In a depression, most severe in the West and South, which lasted until 1843. 
Among other things, it created a demand for stricter banking laws (Adams, op. cit., p. 208). 



To Calvin Fletcher from Sidney, Fletcher 

New Haven 
June, 1837 
Dear Uncle, 

I received your letter a few days since and was pleased to know that all of my 
kin in the West was well. My health has been very good since I have been North. 
The weather was very rainy when I first arrifed and it made me rather home sick 
but now quite contented. You wrote for information concerning school. 

In my enquiries among the students, I find that there is a school in Andover 
Con that is rather famous for good scholars and there is several in this town 
which are very good, the last one I shal mention is a young man in this place. I 
was speaking to the Professors about this matter and they all think Mr. Hart 
(the name of this young man) as capable of giving instruction as any in the state. 
His charges are quite moderate, only $250 for 44 weeks. The vacations James^ (I 
believe that is his name) could spend at Grandma ['s] . 

1 . With regard to the proper age for entering, I think 1 7 is none too late, as it 
is almost impossible to comprehend those abstruse sciences which he will have to 
prosecute in College. If James has studied Latin any, he can enter in one year; if 
not it will take him two years to prepare. I would advise him if he would to try 
and make himself perfect in reading, writing, spelling, and Arithmetick in his 
leisure moments, so that when he enters upon his preparatory studies he may 
devote his whole time to Latin & Greek. 

2. There are few students that come on well prepared from The South, they 
generally prepare a year in this place and I know from my own experience that a 
young man can not be well prepared for a thorough cours throug a Nothern 
College in a Southern school. In the South they get only a smattering of what 
they learn. 

3. Is answered above in the beginning of the letter. If you would like to 
know more about particulars of these schools, I will let you know in my next, 
such as rules & regulations & accommodations. The Faculty of the College 



PART II: 1830-1858 149 

are Presbyterians but James can attent any Church you may please. They [are] 
very strict and the Students are [ ? ] . I will give James a little advice which 
has come under my own observation. The first thing to be guarded against is 
Indolence, for once she has you under her power it is very hard to escape from 
her. This is a great failing of mine & without industry you can not succedd in 
Yale College. The second is [in-? ] reading. I know some young men who 
naturally have good [minds? ] but have ruined them by trifling reading. I expect 
Ancient History would be very usefull to you as your Latin studies will appertain 
to them. You will find Rollins Roman history, Gibb[ons] Rome, Plutarchs 
Lives, very interesting in your leisure moments. And lastly you must make up 
your mind to study. You can idle your time away here but it will hereafter prove 
a source of regret and remorse to you, whilst if you spend your time industriously 
the time you spend in CoUeg will be the happies portion of your life and when 
you finish your studies, the approbation of time well spent, and the grattificatlon 
of your family, & friends wishes will make you feel as buoyant as [air? ]. 

Any information that is in my power to give you, I shall give it with the 
greatest pleasure. It would give me pleasure to receive letters from you & family 
often. Tel James he must write me soon. 

Give my love to aunt Fletcher and all your family, Stoughton's family, also 
Uncle Michaels, and ever believe me your affectionate Nephew, 

Sidney Fletcher 

^Calvin's oldest son, James Cooley (1823— igoi), was named for his father's law tutor and sometime 
partner in Urbana, Ohio (John H. B. Nowland, Sketches of Prominent Citizens of j8y6 [Indianapolis, 1877], 
p. 494). 



Baltimore 
June 5, 1837 
Dear Brother, 

I was highly gratified to receive yours directed to Ludlow the 2nd day after 
arriving there. I left home the lOth May and accompanied Sidney to New 
Haven where I left him. Then went on to Boston and round by Lowel to 
Vermont. I found our mother well and in very good spirits, very active and her 
mind apparently as sound as when I saw her last. She is very comfortably 
situated, well pleased with the family that superintends the Plantation, and has 
every necessary and convenience about her that she wants or requires. The Spring 
has been cold and the winter so protracted that everything looked somewhat 
dreary, but after remaining a day or two, everything resumed the old and natural 
appearance. The 26th May they had just begun to plant corn. The apple trees 
were hardly beginning to bud or bloom, and banks of snow were yet to be seen 
crossing the mountains. 

I came over by the way of Rutland to Albany and down to Miles, who was 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 150 

waiting for me to commence his journey to visit you. I have been persuading him 
to divert his course a little to go home with me before he goes to Indiana, but he 
thinks he may return that way. I have been talking with him about your affairs 
and he will communicate to you my reflections on the subject. You must not be 
too modest. Call upon me if there be need. You remember I told you to do so 
last fall. You must not let your credit or standing suffer while I can help. 
Whatever I can do will be done cheerfully and not grudgingly. 

Should Miles return through Virginia, there will be a good opportunity for 
your son to come on. I left Sidney at a good place for his improvement and I 
believe he has a disposition to make good use of his opportunity, but I shall miss 
him very much at home. 

Miles will tell you all the news and it will be unnecessary for me to write 
more. 

Your Brother, 
E. Fletcher 



Lynchburg 
July 14, 1837 
Dear Brother, 

I received a few days past your last communication and with as much pleasure 
as your letters always produce. You say your wants will be on ist Aug., ist Oct., 
and I St Dec. There will not be time to give you any aid by i st Aug. But by the 
middle of September I will let you have $ i ,500 or $2,000 and by the middle of 
November the balance, to make in all $4000 — if these sums will be of service to 
you. I mention the middle of the months previous to the times of your payments, 
so that if the money had to be transmitted to your place, you would have time to 
do it. I hardly know in what way it may be convenient for you to get it. Whether 
you will arrange it through the northern cities by drafts or send for it or how. 
You must make your own calculations. You need not make any public conveyance 
either of stock or lands, but you can give me your individual Bond only for it and 
it will be cheerfully left to you to provide for contingencies. You can write me 
what will be your arrangements for getting the money. 

I am pleased with the idea of having one of your sons come and spend 
sometime with me. We are quite lonesome since Sidney and Lucian are away at 
school, and he will be much company to us. I talked to Tim about your 
arrangements for meeting Ann^ at Guyandotte." He seems much disposed to 
accommodate her but had laid out a plan to come all the way to Indianapolis 
early in the spring to visit you and then go home by way of the Lakes, by our 
sisters, and spend the summer in Vermont and would prefer, if Ann would like to 
spend a little longer time at Indianapolis, to have her company that way. This is 
his plan, but still says if you insist on his meeting her at Guyandotte or 



PART II: IS30-IS58 151 

Charleston or the White Sulpher, he will meet her sometime the middle of 
September or last week than the hot month of August. Would it be too much to 
trust her with \'our son? I should not be afraid to trust Lucian, who is not much 
older, to gallant a young lady from this to N. Orleans. Lucian, you must know, is 
quite a Ladys man. I should prefer for myself that she should come this way and 
spend some time with us. I feel very much attached to her and consider her a very 
interesting girl. After hearing all these plans you may give such orders as will 
suit all parties. 

I have no news to write. Our wheat crop is harvested. It is of good quality but 
so winters killed as to be light on the ground. Our other crops, with seasonable 
weather after a cold and backward spring, look very well. My absence has been so 
much of late that I have not attended as much as usual to my plantations but have 
some pretty [strong? ] overseers that are making headway pretty well. Maria 
and the little girls are now at the Plantation but will return in a few days on 
account of their going to school. 

You must write often. Remember me kindly to all and believe me, as ever, 

your brother, 
E Fletcher 

^ Miles had taken his step-daughter Ann to Indianapolis in the summer of 1837 "in order to prevent her 
marrying Mr. W. a gentleman of decent fortune and good character from Ulster C'ty N.Y. A correspondence 
took place between the parties and by brother Michaels Stoughtons and my consent he married her. We could 
see no good cause for Miles objections. . . . On Thursday the last day of Nov. Miss Ann my brothers step 
daughter was married to Wm. Wyant of N.Y. at my brother Stoughton by Dr. Richmond" (excerpts from 
Calvin Fletcher's diary, Dec. 2, 1837). ^ Guyandotte, on the Ohio at the mouth of the Guyandotte River, 

later annexed by Huntington, was *'much the most Important point of steamboat embarkation, as well as 
debarkation, In western Virginia, with the exception of Wheeling" (Henry Howe, Historical Collections of 
Virginia [Charleston, S.C, 1845], p. 209). 



Lynchburg 
Aug. 1,1837 
Dear Brother, 

I received since I wrote you the letter by Mr Page' who arrived home safely 
about two weeks past. He seems quite pleased with the Western Country and I 
believe has made up his mind to remove to some part of it. The Spirit of 
emigration from this Section is not quite so great as has been for a year or two 
past, still some are going this fall, among whom we shall miss very much W S 
Crawford & his mother, who have concluded to remove to Louisville," and Mr 
Page and his Family. 

I shall expect in a few days to hear from you about t/ie money. I must enquire 
if more would be necessar}' to make your situation easy? I named the amount of 
$4,000 not knowing how much would be wanted. I mav perhaps, if \o\\ prefer it, 
let you have more in September than named in my last. You must write me 
freely on this subject. Tell me your wants and if I can supply them, shall do it 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 152 

with pleasure, and if I cannot meet your views, will come as near to it as possible. 
You need not have any delicacy in asking, for you ask of a Brother who has your 
welfare deeply at heart and in promoting your prosperity feels an anxiety nearly 
as intense as promoting his own. In forwarding the money, should you not find a 
more convenient way, I could send you a check on our Branch of the Virginia 
Bank at Charleston Kanawha, which I believe stands high and bankable in 
Cincinnati and Louisville, if not with your Banks in Indiana. 

I am awaiting with some impatience to learn what arrangements you have 
made for your sons coming to visit me and about Ann. I feel somewhat attached 
to her, as she seems so fond of our Family — having in preference to her own 
taken our name, and our family for her friends & relations. At any events, 
situated as she is, we must treat her as one of us — and if she can by any 
arrangement reach here this fall, I shall be glad to see her. I think when she 
started for Indianapolis it was probably in consequence of an invitation which she 
told me Stoughtons wife^ had given her to spend some time with her. 

I hear often from Sidney who is well but a little homesick, missing his mothers 
[ ? ] board. He complains that he has short commons. He is boarding in a genteel 
private Family — and very hearty — but I do not mind such things. It will not 
hurt him to pinch a little. Lucian is still at home, having returned sick. He is 
better and about, but not quite well of an ague and Fever which he contracted 
while at school either by being in Swimming too much or from the Location of 
the place. I got a letter from Miles a day or two past. He says he has concluded 
to locate in the city instead of going to the West. 

Would you not find it convenient yourself to take a flying trip and spend a day 
or two with us first of next month.'' I would not urge it if inconvenient, knowing 
how critical a time it must be with your business and that there is nothing like 
one's own superintendence in times of peril. 

I shall get a letter from you perhaps before you receive this but that need not 
make you delay answering this, for it always gives me much pleasure to hear 
from you. 

Give my best respects to all. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^ The Reverend Charles H. Page, husband of Maria's sister Gabriella. ^ Maria's brother, William Craw- 

ford, and his family and his mother, Mrs. Sophia Crawford, joined the westward trek, together with the 
Pages. ^ Stoughton married Maria Kipp, of Newark, N.Y., in 1836 (Fletcher, op. cit., p. 154). 



PART II: 1830-1858 153 

Lynchburg 
Nov. 27, 1837 
Dear Brother, 

It gives me great pleasure to Inform you that your Draft for $4,000 is now in 
my possession. By the aid of our Cashier here, Mr Sydnor,^ I have made out to 
place Funds in N. York and received the Draft yesterday. The exchange cost 
$61, and had it not been for the particular action of Mr Sydnor, it would have 
cost more than $ioo. We had in neither Bank here any N York Funds and he 
wrote to Richmond to the Mother Bank and none could be had there. But by 
sending to our Branch at Danville, south of this, the Draft on N.Y. was obtained 
at this small price. Exchange between N York and Philadelphia is as high as I 
paid for this and between N York & Richmond twice as much. I would have 
honored your Bill, let it cost what it would. 

I will now state what arrangements it will be agreeable to me for you to make 
about this matter. On $2,000 pay Interest from middle September when the 
money was laid by for you. On $2,000 interest from ist Nov. On $61 Interest 
from lOth Nov. These are the dates that the money was particularly set aside for 
your use. Make your Bond bear date for these amounts with their Interest up to 
I St Dec. 1837, Dec. i, 1837, payable on demand with legal Indiana interest Semi 
annually. The Interest at the expiration of each Six months, with the interest that 
Stoughton may owe at the same time, convert in the Stock of your Bank. Should 
there be much of a fraction over the payment of any number of Shares, so much 
as to be over one half of a share, advance to purchase the full share. Should the 
fraction be less than half a share, let it lie to be added to the interest at the 
ensuing six months. Your Bond must be a simple one without any security. You 
may think me miserlike in being thus particular. But I hope it will make no 
difference with you, and I have thought in my mind I would lay it by as a fund 
for my youngest daughter, Elizabeth, a fine little rosy-cheeked child about seven 
years old. 

I trust what I have done in this matter will prove agreeable and satisfactory to 
you. If anything is wrong let me know it. With all our brotherly affection and 
feelings, it is well to keep these money matters straight, and let it not be said of 
us, as it frequently is among relations, that we fall out about our monied affairs 
and that the warmest friends will have become the bitterest Enemies. 

Tell Richardson that I received his letter a few days past and was glad to hear 
from him. I will make Lucian write him and will write him myself in a few days. 
We are all in good health. Lucian is at present at home from a vacation of his 
school till 1st January. I wish you could have found an opportunity of sending 
your son on this fall. He would have been much company for us and he could 
have gone to school here. I generally keep in good spirits and preserve much 
equanimity of mind. Sometimes I am a little dejected. I have so many positions 
to control and manage, I cannot always keep the machinery of my affairs in 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 154 

proper trim. Still perhaps I do this as well as any one could do. I try to govern 
more by persuasion than force. Yet there are some crooked sticks that will fit no 
situation. 

It would give me much pleasure to see some prospects of meeting with you 
before long. What are your arrangements for the next summer campaign? Can 
you not steal time enough from your business to make me a visit then? Tim will 
spend most of next summer [from? ] home and I shall have to stand my ground. 
But should I live till the summer after, I may visit you. I do not feel old in 
constitution, but I have had lately to mount my specks. Do the best we can, our 
organs and system tends to decay. 

If chance should enable you to throw any business into the hands of WS 
Crawford" at Louisville, you will confer a favor upon him and me too. 

Give my best respects to Michael and Family, Stoughton & Family, and Ann, 
and remember me kindly to your own family. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

[On the back of the sheet :] 

$4087. 87/100 for value reed I promise to pay Elijah Fletcher or heir the sum of 
four thousand 87 dollars & 87 cents on demand with interest at 8 per cent from 
date payd half yearly. As witness my hand & seal this first day of Dec 1837 

C Fletcher 

$2000 Know all men by these presents that I owe Elijah for value 

20 reed. I promise to pay Elijah Fletcher on order the sum of 

5_gg $4087.66 on demand at 8 per cent interest from date to be paid 

'^eM half yearly 
61. 



87.66 

^ Fortunatus Sydnor (1788— 1840) was cashier for many years of the Lynchburg Branch, Farmers Bank of 
Virginia, from its opening in 1814 (Christian, op. cit., p. 53). "Maria's brother was a lawyer. He had 

been licensed to practice in Virginia and was admitted to court in Lynchburg for the first time in Mar. 1829 
(Lynchburg Chancery and Law Order Book, July 1828— Sept. 1829, p. 139). 



Lynchburg 
December i8, 1837 
Dear Sir, 

I received yours a few days past informing me of your contemplated trip to the 
north shortly. I fear you will have an unpleasant jaunt, but business with you I 
suppose gives way for nothing, which perhaps is right. I wrote you late in 
November that your Draft of $4,000 had been obtained from the City Bank of 



PART 11: 1830-1858 155 

New York and was in my possession. The details of this business you can arrange 
here if you come this way or at home when you return. But I hope you will find it 
convenient to come this way. If possible you must so arrange it. Tim will be in 
Richmond early in January and should you drop him a line there if you make 
much stay in Washington, he may come on to meet you. 

From New York City to Vermont, should you not wish to go up North River, 
the Connecticut Valley is fully as near, passing through New Haven. But from 
Boston to New York by Hartford & New Haven is as pleasant a way as you could 
travel. Sidney will be, I expect, from the ist Wednesday in January for two 
weeks vacation at Col. John Watson's in East Windsor, about eight miles from 
Hartford, at an acquaintance of mine but will be back in two weeks. I shall feel 
very glad if you find it convenient in your travels to see him. As I wrote you so 
fully in my last, I need not enlarge here but shall expect to hear from you 
occasionally on your tour, particularly while you are in Vermont. As you directed, 
I enclose this to the care of }our Friend Mr. Harrod.' 

Your Brother, 
E. Fletcher 

^William Herod (i 801—71) was elected a representative from Indiana to fill the vacancy caused by the 
death of George L. Kinnard. He entered Congress Jan. 25, 1837. 



Lynchburg 
Sunday Morn'g, Feb. 4 [ 1 838] 
Dear Calvin 

This sheet was produced about an hour ago by your affectionate Brother Elijah 
to write to his Brother Calvin. You know I am one of these tninuit men, of course 
got out of patience at seeing it lay there and he has now taken him self to the sofa 
streched full length and I thought the chance had gone for you to get a letter 
unless I commenced it. We have flattered ourselves that you would visit us ere 
you returned to the Far West, now dont disappoint us. I assure you nothing 
would be more gratif\'ing to us than to see you here and if it does take a few more 
days it all will be the same a hundred years hence. Dont let that sacred [Trio.'' ] 
of "Wife Children and Home" prevent. 

Tim returned a few days ago from I expect a very severe campane to 
Baltimore, DC, &c &c &c, of cours in good health and spirits as he says he [ ? ] eat 
three bushells and never drew a sober breath while he was gone. I want to know 
your opinion about Sidney? I presume you saw him as you pass'd through N H. 
I am not very vain of my possessions generally but I must say I think him quite a 
smart boy, whether he inherits his good qualities from the Fletcher or Crawford 
I leave you to judge. The Old Man is almost worn out with his editorial task, as 
Toler has been in Washington for the last three weeks. His heart is so completely 
enlisted in Farming opperations, he dislikes all other occupation. I begin to think 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 156 

now my ambition is nearly gratified in being a great politicial man's wife. 
Believing he will have something more interesting than I have to communicate, I 
must bid you Farewell in hoping I shall see you in a few days. 

M[aria] 

Dear Brother, 

Maria has commenced this letter and I will finish it, as I have intended as you 
requested, to write you a few lines to Washington. I have been hoping to hear 
from you at several points in your excursion but have not yet received any from 
you since your interesting one from Washington. Tim has just returned from his 
trip. He went as far north as Philadelphia. Mr Toler has likewise been absent 
three or four weeks on a visit to Richmond and Washington. He will be at home 
in a few days. You may know from this that I have been pretty much confined. I 
have just seen from the Boston paper the death of our Aunt Patten,^ the twin 
sister of our mother. You have probably learnt this in the course of your travels. 
You must give me a full history of your trip. 

You must arrange the Bond as you suggested and calculate the interest up to 
the time you mentioned or up to the time you write the Bond. As to the Interest, 
I leave it all to you; you may put it at the lowest or the medium of your State 
legal interest. Our Banks have paid the Stockholders from 6 to lO p. cent, for 
several years [since? ] . I leave this matter all to you. 

We are all well and after a pleasant winter have now two or three inches of 
snow and quite cool weather, but as the season is so far advanced we will hardly 
have a long continuance of cool weather. When you get to Washington, if you 
can spare the time and are not too homesick, you must come this way as you go 
home. I got a letter from Miles a day or two ago. He thinks of moving to N 
York to commence business next April. Tim says Ann and her husband passed 
through Baltimore a few days before he was there. I have no news to write. I 
hope you have seen Sidney. I was pleased to hear a few days past from Professor 
Olmsted,^ who is his Guardian, that he had conducted himself creditably. But the 
young man who went with him from this place had got into difficulties and been 
suspended. Children hardly know what pain such disgrace at school gives their 
Parents nor what pleasure it affords them to hear of their good conduct. 
Farewell ! 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^ Lydia Keyes, the wife of Isaac Patten (see letter of Mar. 1811). ^ Among the Fletcher books in the 

Sweet Briar College library is An Introduction to Astronomy for the Students of Yale College, by Denison 
Olmsted, Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, New York 1839. The inside cover bears a book- 
plate, *'S. Fletcher," and the fly-leaf inscription reads: "Fletcher, Lynchburg, Virginia, Yale College, May 27, 
1840." 




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PART II: 1830-1858 157 

Lynchburg 
April 8, 1838 
Dear Brother, 

I wrote you the last letter directed to Washington, care of Mr Herod, with the 
request that he forward it to you if it did not reach you before you left for 
Indianapolis. From the one I received from you while at Washington, I expect 
mine did not find you there but I expect Mr Herod has forwarded it to you, and 
need not repeat about money matters what was contained in that. I had hoped 
you would have found leisure after returning home to continue to write me your 
good long, familiar, and alwa)'s interesting letters but so long a time has elapsed 
without hearing from you, I thought this Sunday evening I would write a few 
lines to revive your recollections of us and put you in mind of the pleasure it 
would afford us for you to continue your correspondence. 

I believe Tim expects sometime the next month to leave this for the north to 
spend the summer. He still intends to go by the way of Indiana. We have not 
heard from Ludlow lately. From Miles we learn that he Intends perhaps in this 
month to remove to New York to commence Mercantile business. Sidney will 
spend his 4 weeks vacation with his grand mother in Vermont which commences 
the last of this month. Our winter has passed and gone and we have a much earlier 
and more pleasant Spring than usual. Our planting of Corn has commenced and 
our winter grain looks finely. I sowed last fall about 400 Bushels Wheat besides a 
good crop of rye and all promise to yield a reasonable return. 

My friend Mr Toler has a mind to try a little of the political life in the way of 
becoming a member to our next Legislature. He has a good prospect for an 
election but the fashion of the country compels him to spend much of his time for 
a while among the people electioneering, which confines me a little more to the 
duties of the Printing Office. I do not like confinement but feel much better to 
spend my time at my plantation and superintending the agricultural operations 
there. I formerly devoted about two days in each week at my farms but as I have 
some what extended them, I shall find It not only agreeable but necessary to 
spend three or four days there hereafter, especially when the weather Is pleasant. 
For with all my industry , I have always taken care not to expose myself much in 
bad weather. 

Sidney writes us quite often and in good spirits. He was highly gratified at 
your visiting him. Lucian is at School about 30 miles off and seems much more 
Interested in his Books than formerly. Indiana is taking music lessons on the 
Piano and on the Guitar. She was 10 years old last month. Betty Is going to 
School and very fond of her Book but does not learn with the ease that Indiana 
does. We have gotten one of John Patten's children with us — the only son, about 
1 1 years old.' The two girls" who are grown are with their Grandma in Louis- 
ville, Kentucky. 

You must tell Michael that I know he does not like to pay post or I would send 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 158 

him a letter, but tell him If he finds time I would be glad to have a good long 
letter from him. The days of our Youth are not forgotten, though many years 
have elapsed since we were boys together on our Farm in Old Ludlow. Tell 
Stoughton likewise to write me, and Richardson, though I have not answered his 
last letter. I feel much interest in his welfare and shall always be glad to hear 
from him. 

Give my best respects to your Family. Write me soon and believe me, as ever, 
your sincere Brother, 

E Fletcher 

' This might be William A. Patten, the youngest child included in a property settlement dated Dec. 8, 1824, 
between (i) John Patten, (2) Elijah Fletcher and W. S. Crawford, and (3) Sarah Patten, Corinner Patten, 
John Patten, Jr., Sophia Patten, and William A. Patten (Amherst County Deed Book, vol. Q, 277-79). 
^Corinner (b. Oct. i, 1816) and Sophia Patten. 



To Calvin Fletcher from Sidney Fletcher 

Lynchburg 
Au. 28, 1838 
Dear Uncle, 

After an absence of sixteen months spent in Yankee land, among the Literati 
of N England, I find myself once more beneath my paternal roof & amidst the 
Scenes of my early days, in fine health and spirits. The family was happy to see 
me and friends generally, and from appearances, pleasure and enjoyment seems 
to be my happy lot for the next few weeks. You probably wonder why I have not 
written before the present and think that I have been rather negligent of you; 
the circumstances are as follows: when you left me in N Haven I understood you 
to say that immediately on your arrival at home, James or yourself would write 
and I have been expecting your letter every mail. Thinking that this will be 
satisfactory and hoping that It will destroy all mistrust of neglect I thin [k] it will 
not be nessisary to say any thing further upon this subject. 

Pa is at present in the country, attending to agricultural pursuits. He has 
employed a gentleman In the office in whom he has perfect confidence and does 
not pay much attention to it (Pa). Ma is in better health than she has been for 
some time, she is still fond of talking. The girls are well and they seem to have 
improved very much, since my absence. Indiana performs quite well on the 
guitar & piano and Betty Is acquainted with the rudiments of an English 
education. Luclan is at present at a school distant about fifty miles but will return 
in about three or four days. Pa seems to doubt what course to pursue with him but 
seems rather Inclined to give him a south [ern.? ] education and probably will send 
him to William & Mary College in this state. You by this [time] probably have 
determined what course to pursue with your sons and will soon put your 
determination into operation. You have traveled and seen people in 



PART II: 1S30-1858 159 

every situation and under every circumstance and can draw from your own 
experience what course is propper. 

The supremacy of mind can not be doubted, and in a republick this fact is 
tenfold manifest. In the present age of refinement, inteligence and education will 
be respected and it is the only means by which public advancement may be 
obtained. A young man without a liberal education in enlightened society is like a 
fish out of water. The mind in youth receives that cast which afterwards makes 
the man (dividing society in two classes) the respectable or the enlightened. The 
respectable may be defined as the man whos knowledge extend no further than 
the rudiments of his native language. For a mechanick and an honest man, he is 
the slave of the opposite class. The enlightened is he who controUs the other, 
who is able to behold the phenomena of Nature and posseses where with he may 
account for its wonders. 

In this countr\- we do not recognize an aristocracy of wealth or birth, but we do 
an aristocracy of intelligence and refinemet and it must be a source of unhappiness 
to a sensitive man to know that there are those who he is not equall. Youth is the 
time to decorate and adorne the mind and strengthen it by study that afterwards 
it may be able to originate and bring fourth production honourable both to 
himself and friends. 

You promised to ask James to write me. It would be highly gratif\dng to 
receive a communication from him. Please answer this soon direct to N Haven. 
Give my respects to your Family, Uncle Stoughton, & Michael. 

Your Nephew, 
Sidney Fletcher 



Lynchburg 
Jan. 14,1839 
Dear Brother, 

Your welcome letter was received a few days past. Your neglect in writing 
does not induce me to believe your affection is waning or regard lessening. I shall 
always attribute it to the proper cause — multiplicity of cares and business. As for 
myself, I have always been called a dry and uninteresting correspondent. 
Though I think as often and much of my Friends as any one, I am too apt to 
neglect writing. 

I have past the summer and fall in the best of health and with usual 
prosperity. My agricultural concerns occupy much of my time and attention, 
having entrusted the concerns of the Virginian pretty much to faithful agents. 
But at present, as Mr Toler has taken it into his head to become a statesman and 
is now on duty as a member of The Legislature at Richmond,' I have to take his 
stand at the Editorial department, which will occupy much of my time during 
the Session which will probably last till ist of April. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 160 

You need not trouble yourself to invest the Dividend on my stock till another 
one accrues in the Spring. I have some idea of investing a few thousand Dollars 
in your Branch of the State Bank stock, as you say you can get it at par. What 
would be the best way to transmit the funds.? Would a check from the Virginia 
Bank here on a good Bank in Philadelphia or N. York be good with you? As to 
what Stoughton is owing me, he need feel no uneasiness. It will probably be 
better for him to hold his Land and Insurance stock as he can better manage 
either, being on the spot, than Tim or I could at so great a distance. If it be 
convenient for him to pay what interest is due, when you pay your next interest 
you may invest it together with yours and the small sum that will have accrued in 
the Dividends on my present stock in more stock. 

Tim returned home in the fall, well pleased with his Trip. He seems to think 
that our aged and good Mother fails fast. She took the death of our Aunt Patten 
much to heart. Tim intends again to spend his next summer with our Mother and 
it is well he should do so, as it will be a protection and consolation to her, and his 
business is so arranged here that he can well leave home. As for myself, perhaps I 
shall never see her more in this world. Still if I live and she live, in a year or two 
I will revisit her. 

Sidney is still at Yale and from a letter I have just received from Professor 
Olmsted, who is his guardian there, I believe is doing well. While he spent his 
September vacation here, he was attacked with Ague and Chills which delayed 
his return a few days and he has had an occasional attack since but not so as to 
interrupt his studies much. Lucian Is at a neighboring private Boarding School 
and progresses pretty well in his studies. He is getting most grown. I shall not 
send him out of this State to complete his Education. Though I do not regret 
sending Sidney to Yale. I think no where are there greater opportunities to 
acquire an extensive and finished Education. Lucian will take a somewhat shorter 
course of studies than Sid, so as to complete them about the same time. For I 
intend, after they get through their studies, to let them travel one year in the U. 
States and then two years in the Eastern World before they settle down in 
Business. That is if they conduct themselves well, so that I can trust them abroad. 
For should they turn out badly — as they may — I would soon withhold from 
them the means of extravagance and dissipation. 

Tell Richardson I owe him many apologies for not sooner answering his kind 
and affectionate letters. I am much pleased to hear of his good conduct and 
prosperity. Ask Michael if he cannot sit down one of these long Winter evenings 
and write me a long letter, as I suppose he is too industrious to spend daylight 
about it. It is a long time since I have had a letter from him. You need not wait 
for me to write but write as often as you find the least leisure. It always affords 
me great pleasure to get a letter from you. 

Give my best respects to Stoughton. Tell him to be of good cheer and not 



PART II: 1830-1858 161 

despond. He is yet young enough, if he have health, to get rich/ Remember me 
kindly to your Family and believe me, as ever, your Friend & Brother, 

E Fletcher 

Maria and the little Girls are now over at the plantation for a few days. 

^ Toler served in the Virginia House of Delegates, representing Campbell County, from 1839 to 1846 (A 
Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776—1918 [Richmond, 1918], p. 438). ^ In 1839 

Stoughton opened a brol<erage office and private banking business. Richardson Fletcher was a partner from 
1839 to 1858. Their capital was small at the start, but the business prospered, and Stoughton became a wealthy 
man. He acquired a large amount of real estate, including some valuable farms, in Marion County, Ind. 
(Sulgrove, op. cit., pp. 219—20). 



Lynchburg 
July 4th, 1839 
Dear Brother, 

I recvd yours of 24th ult. acknowledging the Ret. of the $1 100 check and the 
disposition of it, which was very satisfactory. I fear, however, I am adding to 
your already accumulated cares and labors in these little matters. 

I do not know that I exactly understand the import of your letter with regard 
to Stoughton. At any event as I did understand it, it has a tendency to awaken a 
few unpleasant sensations. You did not say that he considered the calculation of 
interest correct, although you say you showed it to him, but say in the sequel that 
he states he paid the first years interest in advance. I was almost led to infer from 
that that in my statement he had not got credit for that. But he has. This is the 
sum he paid for me in Baltimore. You say likewise that S claims of me a promise 
not to pay the interest, or that he had the promise to use the interest if we wanted 
it. Two years ago when he remitted me about $30 — the interest on the smaller 
Bond — a time of unexampled embarrassment in all commercial transactions, 
fearing and knowing that he as every man of business must need every cent he 
could make available, I wrote him in acknowledging the Ret. of this money "he 
need not feel any anxiety to be punctual in sending the interest on the $ 1 000 
when due" (ask him to show you that letter). The same Brotherly feeling which 
then prompted this Promise still continues to throb in my breast, and if it be the 
slightest convenience for him to retain the interest, it is my earnest wish that he 
should do it. But as I thought the difficulty of these times had passed away, that 
he was in the successful tide of business, I did not consider that it would be the 
least inconvenient, in fact that it would be a pleasure now to pay it. More 
particularly as when some time ago in reply to your letter requesting me to take 
his Insurance stock in discharge of this debt, I wrote you I would prefer letting 
the debt stand to be discharged at his pleasure and that he might pay the interest 
as you paid on your debt. On this occasion I think you wrote me Stoughton was 
satisfied with this arrangement. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 162 

You say "S seems anxious to pay the debt but dislikes to take the same from his 
means, but if I will not take his Insurance Stock and I will forward the Bond I 
have against him and he will pay them off." Does this mean that he considers me 
an impatient Dun and that even at a sacrifice, rather than be [further? ] harrassed 
he will pay up the Bond and get rid of me? You say "he has informed you that I 
was in his debt for money he paid at home last winter on account of some of our 
Fathers old debts." This is the first I ever heard or ever suspected there was last 
Winter any remaining debt against our dear deceased Father. When I made the 
arrangement with S. about the Vermont property, he was particular to name 
every debt due and money was given him to pay them. S. has revisited Ludlow 
once before last Winter, Tim has been there and spent two summers, and I have 
been there once since that time. But I will not say anything more. I respect and 
love S. as a Brother. I shall take his word. I will pay any amount he has again me, 
and if my statement about his Interest amount be not correct, let him make it out 
as he thinks it ought to be and I shall be content. Say not one word more to him 
about the interest. I rather give him the whole interest and debt too than harbor 
an unfriendly or unkind thought against a Brother. What I have done with him 
has not been done in expectation of making great gain or speculation and let him 
think of me in the transaction as he please. I am his Brother. 

Oct. 5 

You will see from the former date my laziness in finishing this letter, and am 
sorry you have been so ceremonious as not to write me without receiving a reply 
to your last. We have all enjoyed good health and passed through a seasonable 
and pleasant summer. Tim is still in Ludlow and by a letter received yesterday 
says he will not leave there till the 15th or 20th this month. All were well there. 
Sidney has been home to spend his vacation of six weeks and started on his return 
to Yale College about 10 days ago. He now entered the Junior class and has two 
years longer to stay before he finishes his college course. Lucian is at a School 
about 40 miles [distant?] preparing to enter college next year. I received 
Richardson's letter a few weeks past and was highly delighted with it. Tell him I 
will surely answer it. Maria and the children have been spending a few weeks 
vacation at the Plantations but have just returned to town for winter quarters, as 
the Schools for the little girls are just commencing. 

Give my best respects to all. 

Your Brother, 
E. Fletcher 



PART II: 1830-1858 163 

Lynchburg 
Oct. 1 6th, 1839 
Dear Brother, 

But a few days after writing my last, I received yours enclosing the Scrip, 
which was very satisfactory, and I would not trouble you again so soon were it not 
to furnish you with the Power of Attorney to enable you to represent my stock, 
which I herewith annex. I have not taken the trouble to have this Power of 
Attorney authenticated not knowing that your By Laws would require it. If they 
do I will send another. You may continue to invest all the profits of my stock as 
well as what may be owing to me from Interest in shares of your Bank. Bank 
stocks are depreciating very much in all the Atlantic States and will no doubt do 
so throughout the Union as the reigning Powers seem to be making war against 
all Banking Institutions and the people are deluded enough to sustain them in 
this course. Still I thought I would let this fund that is with you remain with you 
under your direction [until? ] Little Betty, our youngest daughter who is now 
about eight years old, becomes of age. Should you live to see that time and 
punctually convert the interest and profits Semiannually it will be much 
increased. It is but a few days since I have learnt the suspension [affair? ] of the 
Banks. What effect this step will have upon the prosperity of our common 
country, I cannot divine. Happy are they who are out of debt. 

Tim has not returned. We shall look for him in a few days. I was pleased to 
hear that you had started your oldest son to a distant school and imagine he has 
gone where there will be few temptations to go astray. Our Boys want vigilant 
watching and attention. I have to advise persuade and scold some to them. They 
have such a tendency to take up romantic notions and try to assume the man 
while they are but Boys. I am kind and familiar but do not spare them in giving 
advice and discountenancing everything improper. 

William Crawford is in from Kentucky. What success he meets with there I 
can hardly tell. He says though he is making a living, which is doing pretty well 
for him, considering the disadvantages he labored under in making a new start at 
his time of life, embarrassed with a somewhat expensive Family in a strange 
country. Respects to all and Farewell. 

E Fletcher 



Lynchburg 
Mrch. 12, 1840 
Dear Brother, 

It will be useless to apologize for my long silence but make amends by 
promply replying to your last, which was pleased this day to receive. 

The unpleasant topic you touch upon, about Jess and his Family, were known 
to me and was this day, as it has been for some time, a subject of deep reflection — 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 164 

whether under all the circumstances it were worth while to afford relief to the 
son. I made up my mind and told Tim that we had better do nothing and leave 
him to his Fate. But we knew more of the circumstances perhaps than you did. 
All occurred while Tim was in Ludlow. He had been [prowling? ] about Miles 
for some time and after several efforts and furnishing him money frequently, 
with a promise that he would leave N. York, he started and went to Boston. He 
had been in Ludlow before in the spring and stolen what money his 
grandmamma had. From Boston he wrote to his Sister about his distress, that he 
had not eat any thing for two days &c. By her appeal to Tim she got $io and sent 
him. 

The next spring he arrived in Ludlow, ragged and dirty. Tim from his own 
wardrobe dressed him up and furnished money to depart. But he loitered about. 
When one day Tim went to his Trunk and found his Lock had been picked, and 
all — every cent of his money (about $300) — gone. He immediately suspected 
Seymour, went down stairs, carried him up, and with a knife at his throat, made 
him confess the Theft. Stripped him from head to foot, found a few dollars of 
the money in one of his Boots. With the rest he said he had paid some gambling 
debts in Chester. Here Tim was left without money to get home. He then 
ordered him off and sent him some distance, but in a few nights he returned and 
stole Bates horse, was [pursued? ] to N. York and is now in jail for that offence. 
Tim has frequently talked with me and consulted whether it would be best to bail 
his $250 and let him run, but he seemed from the above conduct so hardened and 
shameless a wretch I feared he would just return to his grandmothers for farther 
depredations, and confinement to hard labor would be best for him. The disgrace 
could not be greater than he had already brought upon himself and Friends. This 
is a melancholy subject and let us never again advert to it, nor speak of it to any 
of our children or Brothers or Sisters. 

I received the Certificates of stock you sent, was pleased with what you had 
done and return you many thanks for it. Money is very scarce and valuable here. 
I am able to buy state stock bearing an interest of six per cent at $80 for shares of 
$100. The determination of the reigning powers seem so destructive to credit, 
commerce, and the best interests of the country that should they continue in 
power a few years longer, there will be an entire Revolution in our monetary 
affairs. 

We have passed through one of the severest winters I ever experienced 
in this state. But we have had an early and pleasant spring. Fruit trees are 
in full bloom, but yesterday and to day are cold and freezing and will probably 
destroy it all. I cannot say with certainty what arrangements I can make to 
have an interview with you this summer. Upon that subject I will write you 
again shortly. 

Sidney does not graduate till Aug. 1 841. When your son returns you must let 
him come by Yale and this place. I have got to be in Washington City early in 



PART II: 1830-1858 16S 

May. I intend to carry my oldest daughter Indiana, who was yesterday 1 2 years 
old, to the nunnery in Georgetown to School,' where she will probably remain 
two or three years. Maria talks some of visiting her mother and Friends in 
Kentucky this spring. Mr. Page will be in early next month and then the matters 
will be determined and I can write you something more definitely. 

You may continue to invest the interest of all monies with you in Bank stock, 
tho' I fear if you let the Loco Focos" reign, they will render Banks and Bank 
stock of little account. 

Lucian is still at a Boarding School in a neighboring county. I shall send him to 
college next Fall. What one I have yet not determined. I have been pleased to 
learn that Sidney has thus far behaved himself well in College and gained 
general approbation. Farewell. 

E. Fletcher 

^ Georgetown Visitation Convent Academy in Washington, D.C. - "Loco Focos" was the name given 

to the antimonopollstic wing of the New York City Democrats in 1835. Their numbers grew rapidly in the 
period of reaction against the disastrous era of land speculation and uncontrolled bank credits. Hard-money 
men, they distrusted the paper currency of banks and heartily detested banks as being agencies of corruption 
and oppression (Glyndon G. Van Deusen, The Jacksonian Era, 1828—1848 [New York, 1959], p. 95). 
From 1837 to i860, the term Loco Foco was applied to the National Democratic Party by its opponents 
{Diet, of Amer. Hist., Ill, 292). 



To Calvin Fletcher from Sidney Fletcher 

July 27, 1840 
Dear Uncle, 

I can scarcely make you a satisfactory apology for my unpardonable neglect in 
not writing and, such being the case, without an excuse I submit my fault to your 
goodness and courtesy hoping for forgiveness. 

I am much indebted to you for the pleasant visit of Mr Ingram & Lady.' In 
him I met with an open, generous man and truly feel an honour in his 
acquaintance. Mrs Ingram is the most beautiful woman I ever saw, & her 
amiableness and kindness cannot but make her husband a happy man. Before 
seeing her I thought that female beauty was peculiar alone to my native state but 
now my faith in that doctrine is somewhat shaken. They remained only a day and 
I hope was pleased with there stay. 

You know that a few weeks will close my Junior Year, when I expect to leave 
for Virginia to spend the six weeks vacation. Before the close of the term we have 
an examination which will truly test our knolledge of the studies of the course. If 
it is passed, one is entitled to a degree, as the Senior examinations consist of the 
studies of the current year, whilst the present comprises every thing we have ever 
studyed. 

I have just received a paper containing the announcement of my cousin Sidneys 
death." How sad it is to see one so young, with hopes so bright, in the 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 166 

commencement of a course [of] usefullness to die, to go whence 
from whose bourne no traveller returns. Peace to his ashes. 

We have had rather warm weather this summer & in fact almost surpassing a 
part of the time that of Virginia. The crops look promising and the countenances 
of the sturdy farmers beam with the hope (they believe Harrison will be elected 
in the fall) of realising the reward of there honest labour. May they be not 
deceived, is the sincere wish of a Sterling Whig in embryo. You perhaps know 
the department of my life my good father has consented my engaging in and 
every day my inclination and almost phrenzy increases more and more, for I 
think with the Poet that 

Cincinnatus at his f lough, 

With more true glory shone. 

Than Caesar with his laurelled brow. 

His falace and his throne. 

Tumult, ferplexity and care 

Are bold ambition's lot, 

But these intruders shall never dare 

To disturb my feacejul cot. 

Mr Ingram wrote me a letter to day, dated Springfield Mass. He stated he 
left several articles which are now in my possession and will preserve them untill 
there is a good opportunity to return them. 

Dear Uncle, I shall write you regularly and punctually hereafter and hope 
either yourself or one of my cousins will answer it. Give my best respects to my 
aunt & cousins, likewise to Uncle Michaels & Stoughtons family, and believe me 
your 

affectionate nephew, 
Sidney Fletcher 

^Andrew Ingram (b. 1803) was a lawyer in Lafayette, Ind. His older son (b. 1847) was named Fletcher 
{Census for Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Ind., 1850, p. 131). Several letters written by Ingram to Calvin 
Fletcher and some to Mrs. Fletcher, now In the Indiana Historical Society Library, Indicate that the families 
were friends i and references in Calvin's diary show that the two men were business associates. Calvin's sixth 
son, b. June 22, 1835, was named Ingram. ^ This was Miles's oldest child (see letter of Aug. 26, 1831). 



Lynchburg 
Jan. 26, 1 841 
Dear Brother, 

Yours of last month was duly received. The suggestion you make for Michael 
to visit Ludlow next summer is quite agreeable to me. Nothing could give me 
more pleasure than to see him here about the middle of next June with your son. 
Our harvest is generally from 20 June to ist July. I will cheerfully do anything 
to aid and encourage him to undertake the trip. Tim thinks of spending the 



PART 11: 1830-1858 167 

summer with his mother and will be gone perhaps before Michael would find it 
convenient to reach here. But that matters not. He will meet with him in 
Vermont, where they can spend their time together upon the spot so hallowed 
and dear to us all. When I shall revisit the hills of Vermont I hardly know. 

If Sidney returns from college, as he contemplates, the ensuing summer and 
makes an industrious manager, he may relieve me from some care and trouble 
and enable me to take some more respite from superintending my varied affairs. 
He talks some of returning in March; if not then, certainly ist of July, as the 
Senior Class have vacation from the latter date to Commencement. He expresses 
great solicitude to return and retire to an agricultural life. His views extend no 
further and I have no objection, providing he will enter upon that pursuit with 
proper energies and a determination to make himself an industrious, intelligent, 
and enlightened agriculturalist. But he must not go to the Farm to lie down and 
be a drone. If I live, my Boys shall never spend my Estate either in idleness or 
dissipation. Sooner than they shall do it, I will give it to charitable purposes. 
Upon this I am firmly resolved and I take every opportunit}' to let them know 
it. 

Lucian is now at Bridgeport in Connecticut, about half way between N. York 
and N. Haven, a beautiful village on Long Island Sound, at a Select private 
School where he will remain till next August, [when? ] he expects to enter Yale 
College. Sidney has just spent [two? ] weeks — his winter vacation — with Miles at 
Marlboro. I think of carrying my eldest daughter, Indiana, to Georgetown, D.C. 
to School in March next. 

You frequently propose retiring from your Profession. If your health and 
strength are equal to the task, I dont know that I could advise you quit at so early 
a period a profession which is no doubt very profitable, and though doubtless 
attended with much care, trouble and anxieties, is as free from them as most 
professions. I am fully convinced that full employment is one of the best and 
surest sources of our happiness, and I cannot say that I wish mine to be 
diminished, and while I have health and strength, shall seek full employment 
and that of an active kind. Could you not contract your Practice into a more 
circumscribed sphere, and limit yourself to the higher courts of your town and 
immediate neighboring counties? You are a young man yet and have a large and 
young Family,^ never tire in well doing. Still I know it is pleasant and useful that 
you be more at home and more with your children. They daily want our [care?] 
and instruction. My happiest moments are spent each night at home assisting 
Inda in getting her French, her Latin and her arlthmatick Lessons, hearing little 
Betty say her English Grammar and Parsing and Spelling Lessons. 

We have had a cold, wet and disagreeable winter thus far. I find the winters 
much longer and more inclement than when I first came to this country. 

You must strive not to let the plan of Michael's visit be frustrated. You can 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 168 

hardly conceive what pleasure it would afford me to see him here. Write me 
often. Give my best respects to all, and believe me as ever yours 

E Fletcher 

^ In addition to those already mentioned, Calvin's family now included Maria Antoinette Crawford, b. 
Oct. 29, 1833; William Baldwin, b. Aug. i8, 18371 and Stephen Keyes, b. Mar. 30, 1840. 



Lynchburg 
April 27, 1 841 
Dear Brother, 

I do not recollect whether I have replied to yours enclosing the Bank Stock 
and a statement of money matters to last December. I will therefore here state 
that I recvd the Stock and all was satisfactory. You ask when you pay up your 
Bond if a Certificate of Deposit in the Indianapolis Bank will suit. I do not, as I 
am at present advised, know what I could do with such a certificate. If it suit your 
convenience, I would rather receive it all at one time, instead of in portions, and 
by advising me when you wished to pay it some little time previous thereto, we 
can make some arrangement how it will best suit both of us to do it. 

I feel anxious to know something about the summer arrangements for 
travelling which you suggested about Michael, whether he still contemplates his 
northern Trip. Tim will probably not leave here till ist of June and would 
perhaps wait longer if Michael intended coming this way. Our harvest is about 
the 20th June to ist July. It would delight us to have Michael here at that 
time. 

Sidney is at home now and has been since i st March. He came on to the 
Inauguration^ at Washington and had leave of absence till 20th May when he 
returns and will remain till commencement in August and take his Degree. He 
has quite a domestic turn and will devote himself to Agricultural pursuits. Since 
he has been at home he has spent most of his time at the plantation which he calls 
his and entered immediately into the business of the Farm and devoted his whole 
time to it.^ 

Lucian is at Bridgeport at a select School and will probably enter College next 
Fall. He bids fair to make a better Scholar than Sidney. Though quite wild and 
headstrong as a child, he is grave, ambitious, and very studious as he is 
approaching to manhood. I have much to be grateful for thus for the conduct and 
prospect of my children. When I look about and see so many unfortunate, wild 
and dissipated ones, it affords me peculiar satisfaction that mine are so far moral, 
affectionate, and obedient. I have never been rigid with them but early taught 
them how to obey. But they are still young and great changes may come over 
some of them yet and my present satisfaction may hereafter be turned into 
regret. But I will hope and pray for better things. 

We have had a wet, cool and rather backward spring, not quite done planting 



PART II: 1830-1858 169 

corn yet. Our small grain looks well. Tim is in good health ; turns every day 
more and more like our departed Father, in appearance and habits. He is rather 
careless of his health and not as regular in his habits as he ought to be. He will 
stay in Vermont till October. 

You must write as soon as you get this. Give my best respects to Stoughton, 
Richardson, and all and believe me as ever your 

Friend & Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^ William Henry Harrison was inaugurated Mar. 4, 1841, and died a month later. Thereupon Daniel 
Webster, Secretary of State, sent his son Fletcher Webster (1813—62), chief clerk in the State Department, 
with an officer of the Senate named Beall, to Williamsburg to notify Vice-President John Tyler (1790—1862) 
of his succession to the presidency (Oliver P. Chitwood, John Tyler [New York, 1939], p. 202). ^ This 

might have been a tract of land which Elijah later sold to Sidney for $107. The deed for 107 acres "bounded 
by the lands of Nathan W. Floyd, F.A.K.[?] Davies heirs, and others, lying on both sides of the Tobacco 
Row Mountain," was entered July 15, 1842, in Amherst County Deed Book (vol. Y, 264—65). 



Lynchburg 
June 19, 1 841 
Dear Brother, 

Yours containing Eight Shares of the Stock of the Indianapolis Bank, bought 
by the money due me for Dividend on Bank Stock and for interest on your Bond, 
was received yesterday. I keep an exact account in my Book of these affairs and 
though I have not sent you Rets for the punctual payment you have made of the 
interest due me, this Book will show it. 

You request to make partial payments of the amount due me as you find it 
convenient and make those payments at Indianapolis, Louisville, or Cincinnati. I 
have had, and hope I ever shall have, every disposition to accommodate you even 
at a personal sacrifice, but trust it may suit your convenience as well in this case to 
make for the present other arrangements. Could you not loan out in your place 
any surplus sum of money you may wish to pay towards your Bond — upon surety 
of real estate or other that would be perfectly safe to you till you made up the 
amount of the Bond — then call it in and discharge the Bond. It would add much 
to my care and trouble to divide this sum into say eight or ten small sums and 
make separate investment of each, as much trouble to invest and look after $500 
as $4,000. By the time you would wish to discharge the whole, perhaps the 
exchange between different parts of the country will be more equalized. At 
present, should I have to take the amount of your Bond in either place you name, 
it would be a sacrifice of from $400 to $600 — more than you would be willing for 
me to make — particularly as it was not an object of my seeking or speculation on 
my part that caused the transaction. You have to pay no premium to receive the 
money in Lynchburg — where alone I shall want it when paid — but you wished, 
as I suppose it better suited your purpose, to have it transmitted from this place to 
N. York which cost you some $80. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 170 

If you wished now to pay the debt and would place it to my credit in one of 
the Banks in N. York, instead of paying it to me here, I would allow you $ 200 ; 
but I could only ask you to pay it to me here where I consider you borrowed and 
received it — and the cost of transmitting it to N. York a subsequent transaction at 
your request, your risk and expense. I do not wish to make anything by this 
transaction and I well know you are so actuated by the strictest principles of 
honor and honesty in your transactions that you will feel unwilling that I should 
loose by it. But at all events there must not be an unpleasant feeling about this 
transaction and you must arrange it as you think best. This case must not add 
another to the list of evidences that Relations and Friends ought to have no 
dealings or pecuniary transactions together, as I have sometimes feared the little 
transaction with our Brother Stoughton would. 

I regret that Michael could not make it convenient to take his trip this 
summer. Tim has gone, left last Monday and will not return till Oct. He will go 
to Marlborough, then back to N.Y. and visit Lucian at Bridgeporte and Sidney at 
Yale, and thence up the Connecticut to Ludlow. After the lOth July, the Senior 
class at Yale have vacation till 20th Aug., when they assemble at Commencement 
and receive their Degrees. Sidney will start from Yale about the lOth, call at 
Marlborough, thence to his Aunts at Newark and spend a few days, then to 
Niagara Falls, down the Saint Lawrence to Montreal and Quebeck, and across 
the country to Ludlow where he will stay till about 10 days before 
Commencement. Then he will go to Boston and stay in that vicinity till it be time 
to repair to Yale, then home to Work. I thought he would never have a better 
opportunity to visit the most important and interesting points in the northern 
country and I was not willing for him to make the journey without seeing his 
Aunts and once more his aged Grandmother. 

As for me, so many of my Family are away that I have to stay at home. I have 
promised my little daughters that if we all live about two years, I will take them 
on to see their Grandmother, an object which they have much at heart. 

Our harvest is just commencing, which will make it a busy time with me. I 
sowed about 600 Bushels wheat last fall and the most of it will turn out pretty 
well. The crop of wheat in this country will be better than last year though not a 
good crop. 

Give my respects to all and let me suscribe myself your Friend & Brother, 

E Fletcher 



PART II: 1830-1858 171 

Lynchburg 
July 17, 1 841 
Dear Brother, 

I hasten to reply to yours of the 6th instant. With your indebtedness to me, I 
have nothing further to say. Suit \our own convenience and arrange it as you 
think it best for me and most accommodating to yourself, at any time or in any 
amount that you think most prudent for us both. I can at any time invest funds 
here in state stocks that will yield 7 or 8 percent. Within the last year I have 
bought state securities to about $20,000 at a discount of from 20 to 15 p. 
cent — having an interest of five per cent — which you will perceive will yield 7 or 
8 per cent on the money invested. 

As to Richardson's taking the money — though I should have much confidence 
in your judgment about it — I should myself question the propriety of it. I do not 
think it desirable for a young man to have much Capital, and as a general rule 
one better get what capital they really need from Strangers than Relations. And 
in any case, after the application to him on the subject, [would he? ] probably 
think he is conferring a favor by taking it: I do not and never did like to be under 
obligation on any score. But about this matter I will say no more, feeling satisfied 
to leave it all to you, for ever since you received the [ ? ] I have never had an 
uneasv moment on the subject, knowing and feeling that the last thing in this 
world you did would be to do injustice to me. But I feel more uneasiness on your 
own account fearing from what you write that [your? ] liabilities for others may 
bring harm to you. I hope, however, that your apprehensions will prove 
groundless. Still it behooves you to be watchful and guard all you can against 
danger. I must entreat you, should trouble come, to act manly and above board, 
let property go, but save honor, integrity and a good name. Communicate to me 
freely and frequently about your affairs. I shall feel great solicitude to learn the 
extent of your liabilities and the prospect you have to encounter them. 

I intended in my last to ask your opinion about Indiana State Bonds. Will your 
state make them good ultimately, or will she like Missippi try to get rid of her 
obligations? Would you consider it a safe investment to purchase them? Should 
the interest not be punctually paid — if they are finally good — it would be a fine 
speculation to buy the Bonds at what they are now selling for in N York and 
elsewhere — about s(> in the [hundred? ] 

Timothy is now in Ludlow though I have not heard from him since his arrival 
there. He carried on Mary' from Marlborough, called on Lucian and Sidney. 
Suppose you let your son, now at Exeter,^ visit his grandmother this summer. 
Sidney will be there by the i st August to spend a week or so and Lucian about the 
lOth September and stay 3 or 4 weeks. 

We have gotten through our harvest in this country. The wheat crop has 
generally proved a failure, owing to a wet spell just before harvest. Mine is 
fortunately a pretty good crop. You must write me often. I shall feel greater 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 172 

anxiety to hear now how you get along than ever. I shall have to stay at home 
this year but should I have health and life, I will try to pay you a visit next 
spring. Farewell. 

E Fletcher 

^ Mary was the second daughter and fourth child of Jesse Fletcher, Jr. She had apparently been at her uncle 
Miles' home in Marlboro. 'James Cooley Fletcher attended Phillips Academy, Exeter, N.H., before his 

entry into Brown University (Nowland, op. cit., p. 494). 



To Indiana Fletcher 

Lynchburg 
Oct. 16, 1 841 
Dear Inda, 

You must not scold me for not coming to take leave of you the morning before 
I started for home.^ I thought it best not to do it, knowing how tender were your 
feelings and how much distressed at the thought of being separated from your 
Friends. These feelings are natural. I know how I felt when a boy first separated 
from Friends and home, and do not wonder that you should be a little homesick. 
Still I do not fear but you will soon become satisfied with your new home, pleased 
with your studies and make rapid advancement in them. 

It would be far more agreeable to me to have you with us, but I know it is 
for your good to be away for a while. You have greater opportunities than you 
could possibly have here and you know how anxious your Brothers are that you 
should be a Learned and accaniflished Lady. Cheer up ! Do not despond. 
Commence your studies in good earnest and at the end of six months, if you say 
you are not satisfied, I will come and see you. Betty says she knows she would like 
your School and that your Teachers must be very kind and good to furnish you so 
large a Room to flay in. 

I had a very pleasant trip home. I got to New Glasgow Monday morning. 
Sidney came down to Tusculum and stayed with me Monday night.^ Tuesday it 
rained, but we rode to Sweetbrier' in the evening and the next evening I arrived 
home in Lynchburg. I found that Betty had started into school with Mr 
Oliphant, and seemed quite pleased. She asked me a thousand questions about you 
and about the Nuns and the nunnery. She has long parsing lessons which I help 
her get at night. Has not got but one Zero yet and says she intends to study hard 
and be a fine scholar and come on and go to School at the nunnery next Fall. She 
rode over to Mr Gamewells with me this afternoon (Saturday). She is taking 
great care of your Runplish Chicken and says she will raise a large stock from it 
for you by the time you come home. Some one stole one of her guinea Fowls 
which distressed her much. Mr Oliphant has a good School, so has Mr Reid. 

Mrs Dabney* and Theodorick and Matilda started yesterday. Your mamma 
sent a little Package and a letter to you by Mrs Dabney, and they promised to 



PART II: 1830-1858 173 

call and deliver it. Mrs D. had not determined where to leave Matilda j perhaps 
she may leave her in Georgetown. 

Sidney sticks to the Plantation as closely as ever. He said he would come over 
tomorrow and stay a day or two. It will not be but a few days before he leaves for 
Richmond, if he go at all. Sometimes he talks of giving it out. 

We just got your first letter this evening. You will make an elegant Letter 
writer when you get over your homesick fit, which will be by the time you write 
your next, I hope. I have sent the Virginian to you, which I trust will afford you 
some information about our domestic news. We are all well except Louisa who is 
a little complaining today. Aunt Nelly has got quite well. Your mamma talks of 
going to Kentucky as much as ever. Sometimes she talks of coming on to 
Georgetown and boarding there through the Winter and sending Betty to School 
with you. 

Betty and Sidney shall write you a letter in a day or two, but I expect you will 
be so much engaged in your studies as hardly to find time to read all the letters 
you will get from home. I think you cannot but be pleased, after a little while, 
with such a delightful place, where there are such fine opportunities for 
improvement. I received yesterday two letters from Lucian after his return to 
New Haven. He seems to be very happy in College. Writes a very Eloquent 
letter and says you must write him. 

Give my best respects to Sister Cecelia and the other nuns with whom I became 
acquainted. Remember me kindly to Cousin May^ and, Dear Inda, for my sake 
be cheerful and happy and contented. Write us often. Farewell! 

Your affectionate Father 
E Fletcher 

I will Pay the Postage of my next Letter. You must remember that I now 
owe you a half a dollar for missing your dinner on board the Steam Boat. Charge 
that against me as well as this Postage. 

It will not hurt you to get up early and attend Mass or Morning Prayers. Sid 
had to do it when at College and Lucian has to do it now. Get up at 4 o clock. As 
soon as you learn Latin well you will understand their Prayers. 

^ This was among the few family letters found at Sweet Briar. The first mention by name of Tuscu- 

lum, the former Crawford plantation near New Glasgow which Elijah bought from W. S. Crawford, Jr., and 
his mother, Mrs. Sophia Crawford, In 1837, the year they went to Kentucky (Amherst County Deed Book, 
vol. W, 178). He had previously bought out property interests of other heirs of William S. Crawford: In 
1824, that of Sarah Patten (Deed Book, vol. Q, 277-79) and that of Van Trump Crawford (Deed Book, 
vol. R, 279—80); and In 1827, that of Maria's youngest brother, Alexander (Deed Book, vol. R, 377-78). 
In 1842 he concluded a property settlement with Julia Crawford and her husband, Ralph Watson, then living 
in Jefferson County, Ky. (Deed Book, vol. Y, 265—66). ^Referred to as Sweetbrler for the first time, 

the plantation lies about eight miles southwest of Tusculum. It is said to have been named by Maria, who was 
captivated by the profusion of wild roses growing there. This was the explanation given by Indiana to her 
close friend, Mrs. John Payne of Amherst, who recounted It In a Founders' Day talk at Sweet Briar College 
In 1925. It was Indiana who later changed the spelling to Sweet Briar (see letter of Mar. 15, 1858). 
■* This may have been Mrs. Chlswell Dabney, whose husband and Elijah were closely associated In St. Paul's 
Church, In business, and in civic affairs. ^ This Is undoubtedly Mary, the daughter of Jesse Fletcher, Jr. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 174 

Miss M. Fletcher of Medina, N.Y., was enrolled in Oct. 1841 and again in 1842, according to information 
received from Sister Mary Leonard Whipple of Georgetown Visitation Academy in letters dated June 12, 
1953, and Feb. 7, 1964. 



Lynchburg 
Nov. 26, 1 841 
Dear Brother, 

I do not recollect that I ever answered your last letter. Whether I did or not, 
I feel in the humor to write you, for since your last communication describing 
your situation I have felt much solicitude about you and much anxiety to learn 
how you get along. I shall deeply sympathize with you if your liabilities for 
others overwhelms you or so cripples you as not to leave it in your power to 
properly educate so interesting a Family and enable you to spend the rest of the 
summer and the Autumn of your life in retired indefendence, which I think is 
the object of your desires. But I hope if the worst come you will not despond but 
renew your energies and if life and health be spared you, you can still succeed. 

It was a source of much pleasure to me that your son Cooly could spend a short 
time the last summer at The Mansion of our Mother and that my two sons was 
enabled to get acquainted with him. Both Sidney and Lucian were much pleased 
with him, so was his Uncle Tim. Tim brought home some beautiful Lanscape 
[sketches.? ] of his which shows him to possess a talent of no ordinary kind for 
this art. One — of the Old Mansion — which I think [so.?] much of as to have 
had it put in a Frame. You must not neglect to give your children opportunity 
for mental culture. For that purpose I now propose to you, if you cannot con- 
veniently otherwise do it, appropriate the interest of the money [arising.? ] from 
the money you owe me, and if that be not sufficient, the interest on my Bank 
Stock for that purpose. You will, if you live, be able some day or other to make 
all things good, I have no fear. 

Sidney returned home last of August and devoted himself exclusively to the 
Farm until ist Nov., when I advised him to go to Richmond to spend the winter 
and attend the Medical Lectures. He may not practice but I wanted him to learn 
a Trade that he could resort to if circumstances rendered it convenient or 
necessary, and I thought it would be a useful accomplishment if he never 
Practised, and I wished him to get acquainted in his own State and own 
people — which he has had little opportunity to do. The Legislature sits in 
Richmond during the Winter and being with Mr. Toler will have 
some opportunities to get acquainted with the great men of the State. 

I carried my oldest daughter, Lidiana, early in October to the Nunnery in 
Georgetown to school, and Lucian being at Yale leaves us only our Favorite, 
Little Betty, to keep us Company at home. 

You will perceive that I have retired from the Virginian office and will no 
doubt approve the step.^ It has been an interesting and profitable business to me 



PART II: 1830-1858 175 

but it was time for me to retire. Tim has likewise sold out his Establishment to 
Mr Evans and will have nothing to do but take care of what he has. He looks fat 
and ruddy and well. His Face is disposed to break out as our lamented Fathers 
did a few years before his death. 

You must write me soon after receiving this. Give my best respects to Michael, 
Stoughton, and Richardson, and your own Family and theirs. Tell Michael he 
has never made out to finish that long promised Letter. Farewell! 

Your Brother 
E Fletcher 

^ See Appendix VIII. 

To Calvin Fletcher from Maria Fletcher 

Louisville 
Dec. 4, 1 841 

Here I am dear Calvin in Old Kaintuck. Four weeks ago I arrived here, found 
all my friends well. After all Old V^irginia, I think, is as good a place as any. It 
only requires a little more industry to live there. 

They have been very sparing of their letters at home since I have been here. I 
received one from Mr Fletcher yesterday, he says it looks like desolation there. 
He stays with Sidney in the country, visits Lynchburg once in two weeks. He says 
Tim keeps such good far [e] that he puts up with him. I begin to have a little 
longing for home. I have been so domestic here so far that it seems an 
immeasurable distance. Then the weather has been so extremely cold here for ten 
days past, navigation almost stopt above this place. I had a delightful trip out. I 
am sorry to find most all the Towns in the West in a declining condition. 

This seems to be a very dull place for so large a one, even Mr Clays visit did 
not create a sensation. From the present prospect I fear we shall not have an 
other Whig President shortly. Such things as these I do not feel much interest in 
now. When my boys were little men I thought then a great deal about their 
being great [ones? ] but now I am contented that they may till the earth for their 
daily bread. I have no doubt but they would be happier and equally as 
respectable. Sidney seems so perfectly happy in his present occupation I should 
prefer that Lucian would select the same employment, tho he is much more of a 
roving disposition than Sid. Indiana and Betty seems delighted with 
their secluded situation. I shall take Washington in my way as I return, provided 
I can meet with some one going there. My Brother lives in such a retired part of 
the City I cant see or hear of any body travelling any direction. I have regretted 
very much I did not bring Sidney with me. I should have done so but thought 
Mr Fletcher would be too lonesome all alone. I would have been delighted to 
have visited you and have seen Stoughton and Richeson during the pleasan [t] 
weather. When I first arrived I thought several times I would run up to see you 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 176 

as a hundred miles in the west is not more than one in the east. Why cant you 
make us a call here? A little respite from the rocking of cradles and crying of 
children I should think would be very agreeable. I should be delighted to see any 
of you and hope that I shall before I return. Will Stoughton or Richardson go 
east this winter? If they should, why could they not take Virginia in their way? 
And moreover do you know of any one going that direction? I am looking out for 
a gallant. Thinking I should find some dificulty in it, I begin to see in time. 

I do hate apoligy's but this imperfect scrawl needs one, with a bad pen, no ink, 
wretched paper, and no matter. I must conclude with my most affectionate 
remembrances to the family and all the connection which is too numerous to 
identify. Good by, 

yours sincerely, 
M A Fletcher 



Lynchburg 
Dec. I o, 1 841 
Dear Brother, 

Yours of 29th Nov. came to hand yesterday. I had written you about a week 
before, but in answer to your special enquiries, I will make no delay in a reply. As 
to an interview on your contemplated Eastern Trip this winter, I feel much 
anxiety and must insist on your taking the trouble to come and see me. From 
Baltimore to Richmond it is only a days ride by rail road and from Richmond 
to Lynchburg two days travel by Packet Boats,' which are very convenient and 
make it a very pleasant way of travel. In Richmond you will find much of inter- 
est, as the Legislature will be in session, and Sidney would be very happy to see 
youj who, as I wrote }'ou, Is attending the Medical Lectures, and you will find 
him Boarding at the Madison House. His course of Lecture continues from the 
1st of November to the ist of March. I must insist upon your coming this way 
and I think when you once get started you will not find it inconvenient or detain 
you long. 

As to the Bank Dividend and Interest, had you invested it as usual I should 
have been satisfied, knowing you would not have done it unless you considered it 
safe, and I am glad to hear from you that you still consider it so and that your 
Bank is doing well amid the numerous defalcations and failures of the present 
day. But as you have not already invested this fund and as your Loco Foco 
Legislature may do something to affect the interest of your Banking Institutions, 
I will get you to send $ 1 50 of this fund to Mrs. Sophie Crawford at Louisville, 
and buy Bank Stock with the balance. But if you find from your liabilities for 
others that it be inconvenient to pay up your interest you may defer it. Use 
your own pleasure in this matter. As I wrote you in my last, I deeply sympathise 
with you in those losses and hope you will have good luck in getting rid of some 



PART II: IS30-1858 177 

of your greater liabilities and that you may come out clear and independent. As to 
myself I feel no anxiety. I know you will so arrange things that no possible harm 
can happen to me and I feel assured that you will use due caution and prudence in 
this matter and provide for me against any possible contingency. I am happy you 
take these perplexities with so much fortitude and firmness. If you can get a check 
on a Louisville Bank, it will suit Mrs Crawford. You know, however, better than 
I do how to place the fund in Louisville to suit her. I would like to have it done 
as quick as possible. 

If you can make it convenient in your Eastern Trip to pass through N. Haven 
and see Lucian, it will afford him as well as me a great deal of satisfaction. From 
the I St Wednesday in January for two weeks there is a vacation in College and he 
may be absent, but at all other times he will be there. I have a thousand and 
thousand things to tell you and to talk about and you must not fail to come by and 
see me. Indiana too, at Georgetown, you must go to see as you will certainly pass 
through Washington. 

I was much grieved to hear of Stoughtons loss.^ [I] never had the pleasure of 
being acquainted with his wife, but from all I had heard of her, had much respect 
and esteem for her. 

Remember me to Michael, Stoughton, Richardson, and all your own Family 
and let me once more subscribe myself your affectionate Brother 

E Fletcher 

^ The first passenger boat, the Harvey, left Richmond Nov. 25, 1841, and covered the 147 miles to Lynch- 
burg in 40 hours. During the next year the Jos. C. Cabell and the Jo/in Marshal! operated on a regular 
schedule of 30 to 36 hours between the tv^o cities (John D. Capron, "From Canoe to Packet Boat," in the 
Iron Worker, Autumn, 1959, pp. 7—8). " Stoughton's first wife, Maria KIpp, died Nov. 28, 1841, at the 

age of 24. 



To Calvin Fletcher from Maria Fletcher 

Christmas Day [ 1 841 ] 
Dear Calvin, 

Your Wellcome letter would have been answered before now but [I] was 
absent from [town."^ ] on a little visit when it arrived. Even your signature was 
very gratifying, almost as much so as your Countenance. I have not seen a being 
here except my relations that I ever saw before. This has been quite a busy 
morning with the Children and servants claiming and receiving Xmas presents. 
We have had a very severe spell of cold weather and they are filling their Ice 
houses and everything frozen up. [ I ] have not heard from Virginia since I wrote 
you. Their letters are far and few , in reality I expect Sidne\' and Mr Fletcher are 
enjoying themselves very much in the country, "Solitary and alone." I wish they 
had some of your little brats with them to disturb their peace and repose. It has 
been such a long time since I have lived in a house where their were children that 
It appears that have been in bedlem since I came here. My Brother has five, all 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 178 

small and [all? ] Boys, and still worse at Mr Pages, seven there. There seems no 
refuge here from them, every house seems cramed to overflowing with them. I 
hope they all may prove blessing's to them. This is a plentiful country. No danger 
one suffering here, with but a little industry every want might be gratified but 
with all their profusion I dont think they live better than they do in a less 
plentiful country. Whether it is bad management or not I cant say. 

Now I must return you many thanks for your kind invitation to visit my 
friends, which would give me much pleasure to do, were it practable. I am not 
quite enough of a hero to travell alone, particularly in a strange land. Old 
Women, you know, cant command gallants when they need them. I would not 
have you or any of my friends at this inclement season to come for me, but if 
you know of any person visiting Indianapolis, I would like very much to make 
you a little visit before I return to Virginia. I suppose this is the last visit I shall 
ever make to the west. I hope to return as soon as the weather will admit. I 
begin to be quite anxious to see home and if they care any thing or love me, they 
must want to see me by this time. It has been two months since I left, a long 
visit for Old folks to make. 

We all should be very happy to see Louisa,^ Richeson, Stoughton, and your self 
at any time. Their are all sorts of amusements at present in the City, that the gay 
might enjoy them self very much. Long since I have lost my relish for them. I 
[get? ] very flattering letters from Lucian. It is so much more than ever expected 
that I enjoy it more perhaps than any one else would. The little girls write me 
they are delighted with their situation. I hope they will not become catholicks. 
Mary Fletcher, I hear, is completely devoted to them. I believe Tim would like 
very much for her to become a Nun. You know he would all ways prefer what no 
one else would, so if we can only be good Christians that is all that is necessary. 
Name and denomanation is of but little consequence. 

My friends desires to be remembered to all of you and will be pleased to see 
any of you at any time. Should I not see any of you before I depart, which will be 
as soon as I meet with an opportunity however, I will write you again 
therefore. 

Will conclude with my affectionate remembrance to all and ever believe 
me your sincere 

M. A. Fletcher 

^ Probably Michael's daughter, who was named Louisa. 



PART II: 1830-1858 179 

To Calvin Fletcher from Maria Fletcher 

Louisville 
Jan. 22 [1842] 
You dont know, My dear Calvin, how I regret leaving this place with-out 
seeing you and the rest of my friends in Indiana. I have met with an opportunity 
of returning to Virginia which perhaps I might not meet with again. Mr Penn^ 
leaves in the morning for Lynchburg. I am almost afraid to encounter the 
mountains but I hope the same kind providence will still continue to protect me. 
Had the roads been in better order I think I should have ventured to have 
visited you. You must remember me affectionately to Richeson and Stoughton. 
Tell them they must come to Virginia. I will choose for them a Virginia wife 
provided they are not engaged. Tell Louisa I should be delighted to see her 
[there.?]. You [r] Wife I can hardly expect to see there. I never can give up the 
idea of not seeing you again. When we all get Rich and [ .'' ] with the things of the 
world we will visit each other. I heard from home a few days ago. Mr Fletcher 
stays with Sid altogether. I shall have quite a dreary time when I return, the 
girls will not be at home until August. My friends here desires to be remembered 
to you and the family and hope still to see you this winter. Love to all and believe 
me yours sincerely, 

M A Fletcher 

^ This may have been Maria's uncle, James Penn, who took his family to Kentucky about 1818 (Mary D. 
Ackerly and Lula E. J. Parker, Our Kin [Lynchburg, 1930], p. 193). 



To Calvin Fletcher from Sidney Fletcher 

Medical School 
Feb. 15, '42 
Dear Uncle, 

I now disremember who wrote the last letter, you or myself, but dispensing 
with ceremony, as relatives should ever do, I have determined to write — though 
confessing there is but little here which would afford you any gratification or 
pleasure. 

You are perhaps surprised at my attempt to improve my humble name in the 
Catalogue of Medical men, the benefactors and alleviators of afflicted humanity 
(all humbug however). I am as much surprised at my present situation as any of 
my friends can be, as its a department for which I am by no means constituted to 
excell or which can afford me any gratification in practicing. 

In leaving Agriculture I am transformed from a good farmer into a shabby 
gentleman. Nothing would have induced me to this temporary transfer but the 
solicitations of my friends, to gratify whom nothing on my part will ever be 
wanting, for they have been so verry kind in gratifying every desire of mine it 
would be base ingratitude that there old age would be clouded by the 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 180 

disobedience of a Son. Each day of my life I appreciate more and [more?] the 
duty, obedience, and obligations that rests on a child towards the parent. And I 
am encouraged to such an action by a remark my father has often made to me. He 
says he believes his prosperity in life has been dependant on the benedictions and 
blessings of his parents, and that a Source of his greatest satisfaction arises from 
the reflections of having done his duty towards them. My Lectures conclude on 
Saturday next and immediately I shall leave for Home. During the course I 
flatter myself I have acquired a Sufficient Knolledge of the profession to 
[become.''] a tolerable country Doctor but be that as it [may.?] I doubt if 
hereafter much of my time be devoted to medicine.^ 

Our Legislature is now in Session, which affords me much amusement and 
instruction : amusement in the ridiculous Scenes that are daily acted, the splendid 
farce the State pays four or five hundred dollars per diem to be acted j the 
humbugery, the pitiful Schemes of both parties to advance there respective 
[interests? ] . I am instructed by the wisdom of some of [the? ] Members who are 
worthy of the highest seats in our National councils and they would be there if 
they could condescend to such miserable conduct as many who write M C to there 
names. 

I leave these general subjects and confine my remarks to more intimate topics 
[which] will perhaps afford you more pleasure. 

You are perhaps aware that our family is scattered to the four winds of 
Heaven: Lucian in N H, Indy at Georgetown and Betty at home. This my 
younger sister is the flower of the family and a niece I am sure you would be 
pleased. She is not as good a Schollar as Indy but possesses more talent and has 
the most amiable disposition ever I met. In the month of August, all will be at 
home and once more enliven it with there cheerful presence. As to myself, I 
hardly know what will be my next move. I am anxious to visit Louisvill, Ky., to 
see my Grandmother and pay you a visit and continue my journey to the 
frontiers. I will do this Some time before long. Lu speaks of Makeing a trip West 
which he certainly ought to do and I shall try and persuade him to go in the 
Spring. I shall be happy to hear from you. Give my love to all my relatives. 

Your Nephew, with respect, 
Sidney 

^ Although he was later known as Dr. Fletcher, Sidney did not actively practice medicine. This was con- 
firmed in Oct. 1963, in a conversation with Mrs. William L. Patteson of Lynchburg, daughter of Valerius 
McGinnis, Jr., of New Glasgow, who was a neighbor and close friend of Sidney's. As a little girl, Mrs. Pat- 
teson often rode with her father to Tusculum on Saturday mornings in the winter "to visit Dr. Fletcher and to 
borrow books from his extensive library." 



PART II: 1830-1858 181 

Lynchburg 
March 13, 1842 
Dear Calvin, 

I believe you wrote me the last letter but whether your last has been answered 
or not, I will embrace this opportunity to converse with you awhile as I am alone 
this Sabbath da\-, Maria and Sidney and Bettie being at one of the Plantations in 
the country. Sidney returned from Richmond about ten days ago, much pleased 
with the knowledge he has obtained in the healing art, and has already begun his 
practice among the Servants. Bettie's winter Session was out and she wished to 
spend a few days vacation in the country before she resumed her school. She is 
always delighted with rural scenes, with her chickens and Ducks, and a great 
favorite with all the Servants. She has a Henhouse at each plantation, managed 
by some faithful Servant who makes a due return of Eggs and chickens that 
affords her quite a smart Revenue. 

I received letters yesterday from Inda & Lucian. They both seem con- 
tented and interested in their studies. Lucian quite emulous and enthusiastic 
— thinks he will make a mighty man of himself. Even now considers him- 
self quite an Orator and flatters himself that he has a genius to thread the 
intricate mazes of the Law. I do not dislike pedantry and vanity in Boys at 
school, and never check this kind of enthusiasm. Riper years, practice and 
experience, may show them that many of these fancies are visionary, but unless 
they strive and hope for distinction they never will attain it. 

Since I commenced this letter, Tim has stopped in and set and conversed with 
me an hour. He is in good health and gets along very well, does not think of 
travelling any where this summer. Have you determined to make a Northern 
trip the ensuing summer — and at what time? 

If \ou have not invested the last falls interest and Dividends besides what you 
sent Ms Crawford, will you procure a Draft on N. York or Philadelphia for 
$150 and send to Lucian at Yale College. It will give you an opportunity to 
correspond with him and see how aspiring and lofty his notions are. I expect the 
premium you will have to pay for a Draft will be considerable but that I am 
willing to pay. I cannot get one here on N. York for less than 7 or 8 p. cent and 
on Philadelphia for less than 4. If anything should occur that you do not find it 
prudent or convenient to do that, let me know without delay that I may make 
other arrangements to forward him money. My children are becoming 
expensive, but while they conduct themselves well, I cannot spend m\- money 
more pleasantly than affording them the opportunity of improvement. You have 
so man}' of them to educate it will require a great effort on your part to give all 
an Education. But you cannot spend your time and money better. A good 
Education is the best fortune we can give our children. 

The winter throughout the U.S. has been so proverbially mild that I need not 
say that I do not recollect that I ever experienced so pleasant a one here. Our 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 182 

spring is unusually forward, but we still may have harsh weather and destroy the 
prospect of Fruit which is now in full bloom. From politics I am entirely weaned 
and hardly read a paper except the Virginian. The whole political world has 
become so unprincipled that it possesses no attraction for me. My time is spent 
pleasantly while on my Farms, where I shall devote the most of my time. The 
pecuniary distress of this country is quite severe, but I think will not be lasting. 
Our Tobacco and Wheat crops will soon relieve the people. 

Let me hear from you soon, and in the meantime remember me to your 
Family, our Brothers, and Richardson and all. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

1344.75 Lynchburg 

80 Apr. 6, 1842 

1424.75 

3_ 

4274.25 

Dear Brother, 

Your Letter enclosing Four shares Bank stock was received yesterday 
morning. The transaction was satisfactory^ and I thank you for so promptly 
replying that I might make other arrangements to furnish Lucian with Funds. I 
dislike to have Boys at school troubled with money matters. They are very 
sensitive, or ought to be, and among strangers who feel little sympathy for them. 
But Sidney thinks he has established a credit for punctuality at Yale that would 
enable Lucian to go upon Tick some time. 

I will not say any more about your proposition to pay the debt you owe me 
than this: do me justice and suit your own convenience. If you were to give me a 
choice, I might say that I would prefer Real Estate at present prices and that I 
would not choose to take the Bank stock. In the ticklish state of Banking 
institutions, perhaps I have invested as much as I ought in yours at present. But 
convey the debts you name or Estate as may best suit your convenience. I know 
you will not do me injustice, and leave it entirely with you to fix the prices and 
other arrangements to close the matter. If you sell me Real Estate, such as would 
net something like interest would be preferred. I would wish the interest from 
the present year, that is to the next December, reserved and paid in money. I 
have more feelings than I can express, awakened by your situation — but it will 
not do to reflect upon the past, but hold up your head under all your pecuniary 
embarrassment brought upon you by the noble — but perhaps imprudent — 
kindness of your heart, which prompted you to assist a neighbor or Friend by 
entering security. I am still your Brother and shall be ready at any time with 
cheerfulness to lend a helping hand. 



PART II: 1830-1858 183 

Can you not persuade Stoughton, without intimating that it comes from me as 
a request, to pay me the Interest due on his debt? The embarrassed and deranged 
state of pecuniar)' matters throughout our country cuts off some of my usual 
resources and it would be a convenience to me to obtain from him what is due for 
interest, and I think better for him to pa\' it. I never saw much good result from a 
mans letting his debts increase and many times thinic my success in life has partly 
resulted from a determination to "Pay as I go." 

I am much gratified with Sidneys zeal and industry on the Plantation. He is no 
Drone. And though he does not think at present of being a Practising Physician, 
still he highly appreciates the knowledge he has already obtained in medicine 
and says he would take no money for it. He showed me your last letter to him 
and I was much pleased with the advice }'0U gave him. What made me ask you if 
you intended a trip East this spring was this — I thought if )'ou did not go, I 
would try to make a flying trip to Indiana first of June. You can therefore let me 
know your determination as soon as you form it. From Inda and Lucian we hear 
often. Judging from the stymie that Inda writes her Letters, she has a school that 
makes her improve very fast. 

Our spring has been a pleasant one — every thing very forward — and though a 
few severe Frosts last of March, there is yet much Fruit left. We are now busily 
engaged in Planting corn. Remember me kindly to all our Friends and let me 
suscribe myself once more your Brother, 

E Fletcher 



To Calvin Fletcher from Sidney. Fletcher 

Tusculum 
Nov. 5, 1842 
Dear Uncle, 

I received your letter a few days since and was glad to hear of \'our safe arrival 
home, no doubt it was a cause of great happyness to be restored to your family 
after so long an absence.' We are all well, i.e.. Pa & mvself. Ma started for the 
West a few weeks ago and by this time is enjoying the company of her aged 
mother." The children write frequently, when heard from last they were well. 

I am now constantly engaged in farming, in which mv zeal increases more and 
more every day. With propitious seasons, I hope for a bountiful yield next year 
although our wheat looks very [un? Jpromissing, owing to dry weather. If the 
prices of produce do not improve, the agricultural class of this country will be in 
state of total bankruptcy, a point to which we are fast approaching. The sherrif 
told me it was impossible to collect taxes — the people of the mountains take to the 
hollows & caves & the lowlanders hide in the woods & swamps. A few in this 
country have declared open war [on ? ] the civil authorities but it is hoped for the 
credit of the state it is mere bravado. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 184 

I congratulate you on the offer of the judgship, but presume your practice far 
more lucrative, which would be an essential item with me. I was glad to hear you 
had concluded to give your second son a liberal education.'' You will never regret 
it, if he improves the advantages. 

You mention a letter of Uncle T. I can not for the moment think he entertains 
any idea such as you seem to intimate. I know my father does not, for I have 
often heard him say no brother of his would wrong him in thought or deed, and 
especially you in particular. Uncle may have used perhaps an ungarded expres- 
sion, as he is not very particular in that respect, or you may have misunderstood 
him. But whatever it may be, I should think nothing of it. 

Pa wishes me to say if the bank declares a dividen, transmit it as there are 
excellent opportunities of investing money here. Real estate (valuable) will be in 
market and great bargains may be had. In your next, please give me an account of 
the finances of your country and any information that you may posses which will 
be interesting [to] me. Give my respects to all my relations. Tell Richardson he 
must not get married till he is worth fifty thousand, unless he can meet with a 
fortune of that amount. 

If you ever see Mr Ingram, remember me kindly to him & his interesting lady. 
I begin already to anticipate my visit to your country in the fall of '44, which if I 
live and can raise the means, I certainly will accomplish. 

With great respect I conclude my badly written letter, hoping to hear from 
you soon. 

Your affectionate nephew, 
Sid Fletcher 

^ Calvin visited Elijah and his family in the summer of 1842 (see Appendix IX). " Sophia Penn 

Crawford died at Louisville, Oct. 8, 1844, according to the record In the family Bible. Calvin's second 

son, Elijah Timothy, later went to Brown and was graduated in 1850. 



Tusculum Plantation 
Jan. 10, 1843 
Dear Brother, 

Your very welcome Letter was received by the last mail. I had been promising 
myself for a long while to write you, but procrastination from week to week, with 
a thousand little hindrances intervening, has deferred my performing the 
promise till reawakened to a sense of my duty by the reception of your kind 
Letter. I have not unfrequently remembered the pleasant moments passed with 
you here last summer and only regret that such interviews could not be more 
frequent. I have spent my time in the usual routine of superintending my 
Plantations and wo [rldly.-' ] concerns. The grist and saw mills that I have been 
creating here — the dam of which was swept away by the Fresh a little before you 
arrived — has occupied much time. It is now all about complete. 



PART II: 1830-1858 IS5 

Since the 1 5th Nov. Sidne\' has taken the management of affairs at Sweetbrier 
and is going on very well, much better than most any overseer that I have had. 
He has great zeal and great industry, has overcome his sleepy propensity in 
the morning, eats his breakfast by candle light and spends his day with the hands 
in the field. If he does not tire, he will make a good Farmer. Lucian writes to me 
seldom. I hope he is doing well. Inda & Bettie write often, are quite contented 
and much interested in their studies. I received a very neatly and correctly 
written Letter from Inda a day or two past, altogether in French. She will excel 
either of her Brothers in Learning. She is shrewd and sensible, verv ambitious 
and intelligent,' but will not be very show)'. It is not a characteristic of our Family 
to make much display — rather retiring and contented with a reserved 
self-importance. Lucian is however somewhat different, whether he gets it from 
his mother I know not. He has most too much self-importance and is rather too 
consequential. I sometimes fear the consequences of his present state of feeling, 
that he will not be able to maintain the ground and eminence he now assumes to 
himself, and being mortified and disappointed thereat, may sink below his proper 
level. It is a critical time with him. 

I was glad to hear Maria had written you and would have been pleased that 
you could have visited Louisville while she remains there. How long that will be, 
I hardly know — she writes home seldom. Tim sticks to Lynchburg — never comes 
to the Plantations — will visit \'ermont early in the Spring, taking Mary with him 
from Georgetown and be absent all the summer. We have had a pleasant fall and 
winter so far, very little snow or wet weather but some pretty cold, but since this 
month has set in, it has felt more like March. Today it has been showery and 
cleared off this evening with a thundershower. 

In politicks I have no concern and probably shall never again have. I almost 
fear I am becoming too indifferent about the affairs of a country in which I have 
an important stake and for the prosperity of which we ought for ourselves and 
posterity to feel deeply interested. 

The check for $ 1 20.00 for the Dividends for the last ten months for my Bank 
stock was received with your last Letter. The Dividend for the preceding six 
months you delivered to me when here last summer. I am pleased to think your 
Banking Institution has maintained her credit and standing so well. 
The Directory deserve much credit for managing it so well through times so 
difficult. Few institutions of the kind in our Country have succeeded better, while 
hundreds have done worse. 

Tell Michael that I often think of him and still hope to meet and see him and 
converse with him. Tell Richardson that I am pleased to learn he is doing well 
and has made himself so respectable [a] man of business. Tell Stoughton I 
received his Letter and was much pleased to learn that he would comply with my 
request in forwarding Lucian money. It has been and will be a great convenience 
to me, if he be able to comply with the proposals made to him about this matter. I 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 186 

suppose he forwarded Lucian money the last of last month as he stated he 
should, though I have not heard from Lucian since he received it. 

Give my respects to your Family and all the rest of my Friends and believe me 
as ever your Friend & Brother, 

E Fletcher 

^ Her academic achievements at Georgetown are indicated In Sister Mary Leonard Whipple's letter dated 
June 23, 1953. "At the 'Distribution' (closing exercises) In 1842, Indiana Fletcher won a ticket of merit In 
English composition and In French j third prize In botany and in philosophy (probably 'natural philosophy'); 
a second prize in English grammar i the first prize of the class In history, astronomy (the prize being a copy 
of Rasselas) and Latin; and second honors in the senior circle of the school." 



Tusculum Plantation 
June 12, 1843 
Dear Brother, 

I received yours a few days past enclosing a check for $50 on account of the last 
Dividends on my Bank Stock in the Indianapolis Branch of your State Bank. You 
say I was, when you wrote the last, indebted to you one letter; I acknowledge the 
Debt and when I get as young as you are will be sure to pay it. To tell the Truth, 
I am rather lazy in keeping up my correspondence with my Friends, though it 
affords me great pleasure and satisfaction to hear from them, and when I get at 
it I spend a few moments very pleasantly in writing to them. 

Tim left here about a week past for the North. He called at Georgetown and 
took Mary along. He saw Inda and Bettie who have written me since he passed 
there. They will probably not return home but spend their next August vacation 
at the Academy. They are very contented and pleased to stay, and think they will 
have a good opportunity to pursue their studies during vacation. I shall if 
possible visit them at the Exhibition at the close of the Term. I do not expect 
Inda will spend more than a part of next year at this Academy, though I design 
that she shall still continue her studies at some other place. 

You stated in your Letter before your last that I had omitted to answer one of 
your Interrogatories pronounced in a former Letter. I suppose you had reference 
to the one about taking your Bank stock. It was carefulness in me that I did not 
do it. I did not think it a matter you cared much about and I thought it better not 
for me to take it. I never felt much uneasiness about the money matters between 
us. I have always had the utmost confidence that you would never let me suffer 
and that the original understanding would be perpetuated. I hope and think in 
money matters we shall see better times. 

Lucian arrived home from Yale a few days past. He has concluded to finish his 
Education at William and Mary College in this state next year and then attend 
Judge Storys law Lectures at Cambridge.^ He is somewhat vain and pedantic and 
thinks he will make a great Lawyer. But there is no telling. 

The prospects for a wheat crop in this part of the State are not good. Last year 



PART II: 1830-1858 187 

I had commenced Harvesting at this time. This year the Wheat is not fully 
headed and very thin. The winter killed out much and the Fly has likewise been 
very destructive. Other crops look well. 

Tim will probably not return till last of September or beginning of August 
[October? ] . Sidney continues his zeal in Farming and so far has managed very 
well, equal if not better than any Overseer I ever had. Maria got home safe and 
much gratified at her Western Trip. She regretted much her early departure 
prevented her visiting you. She met with such good company and the weather 
was so pleasant, she concluded it best to embrace the opportunity. Two days after 
she started the weather became very inclement, but she says she got along very 
well. 

Give my best respects to Michael, Stoughton, Richardson, your wife and all, 
and let me close this by once more subscribing myself your affectionate 
Brother, 

E Fletcher 

^Joseph Story (1779—1845), famous Massachusetts jurist, was an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme 
Court, 1811-184.5. In 1829 he began teaching law at Harvard, where his reputation and personality soon 
drew many students. Regarded as the founder of the law school, he taught by means of informal discussion, 
instead of lectures (D.A.B., XVIII, 102-3). 



Sweetbrier Plantation 
Dec. 26, 1843 
Dear Brother, 

Yours covering two small Drafts, one of $61.78, the other $50, making 
$111.78 for Dividends on Bank Stock up to Dec. 1843, was duly received last 
week. It is, to be sure, rather short Interest, but so the Principal is safe in these 
days it is some consolation. Your Bank deserves much credit for managing as well 
as she has. I regret as much as any one that I could not have carried my original 
intention with my Indiana Fund into full operation. But circumstances seemed to 
render it inconvenient. Stoughton finding it inconvenient to pay up the Interest 
on what he owed and the alarm which your affairs caused you left me but an 
inconsiderable sum in the way of interest to reinvest every six months. But I hope 
times are altering and a new state of affairs in money matters will soon take place. 
The Large cities which first experienced these difficulties are assuming a new and 
independent stand with an abundance of money and I have no doubt in due time 
better and less embarrassed prospects await the country generally. 

I am enjoying with all my Family very good health. Last summer I was a 
little more enfeebled and debilitated than usual, but I feel quite invigorated and 
in good health now. Last July I made a Trip to Georgetown and brought 
Indiana home from school, leaving Bettie.^ The first of November I started again 
with Inda to Bishop Doanes School at Burlington, N. Jersey.^ She, though 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 188 

receiving the highest honors^ and completing the course at Georgetown, still 
wished to pursue her studies. She will remain at this Academy perhaps during the 
Winter and next spring she will enter a Boarding School in Philadelphia till 
Fall. Inda is disposed to be a scholar. She is very ambitious of excelling, much 
self dignity, but like .many of the Fletchers, modest, retiring and not disposed to 
dash. 

I had a very agreeable Trip by the way of Richmond, spending two days in 
Petersburg, thence down the River to Norfolk and up the Bay to Baltimore. On 
my return I passed through Baltimore, spent a day with Bettie who is quite 
contented at the nunery and pursuing her studies diligently. But with perhaps 
more discriminating mind and better natural sense, she does not progress in her 
studies as rapidly as Inda. In my Trip' I passed by William & Mary where Lucian 
was pursuing his studies. He seems impatient to get into active life and was 
devoting most of his time to the study of Law. He has just arrived home and will 
for the present pursue his Legal studies here. Sidney has not yet faultered in his 
Agricultural, Industry, has made a fine crop and all the hands under him seem 
well pleased and quite proud of their young master as manager. As it is 
Christmas, he has taken a day or two for amusement — is in Lynchburg and I stay 
here the while to care of his affairs. In fact I spend good deal of time here and my 
other Plantations. Maria stays most altogether in Town. Our Servants are now 
enjoying themselves in great perfection and I do every thing to make it a merry 
time with them. They all started from here this morning to Tusculum Plantation 
to a Quilting, and as it was muddy the girls went in a four horse Wagon. They 
will stay all night and dance to the Banjo and be back tomorrow. 

We have had some cool weather, but generally an open fall — no snow — no ice 
to fill our ice houses — not even any Frost at night for a fortnight past. I have not 
had to feed my cattle much yet, as I let them graze my clover fields in the fall 
after they return from the mountain Pasture the last of October. Our crops of last 
year were very good — corn has been selling this fall for $1.50 per 
Barrel — Wheat, 75 cents — Beef, $3. p. hundred — Pork has generally 
commanded $4, but now it can be had at $3.50. 1 raise enough of these things and 
to sell. 

Timothy did not return from Vermont till late in October. He spent this 
summer most altogether with his Mother. He represents her as declining in her 
intellectual faculties, her memory gone and quite childish. He thinks of spending 
next Summer with her, which I think is very well, as [he] will have little to do 
at home. He will probably come through, on his way to Vermont, Indiana. It 
would give me great pleasure to visit you in the course of the next Summer and 
perhaps I may. My affairs are pretty snug, yet to keep them so requires constant 
attention. Still I hope I can let them take care of themselves for a while and if 
I can get started will make you a visit. I wish much to have an interview with 
Michael, as well as to see your Family and Stoughton & Richardson. Tim told me 



PART II: 1830-1858 1S9 

Richardson had again embarked in Mercantile business with one of Asa Fletchers 
sons/ whom he saw in ^'e^mont last summer. 

In Politics I am as usual luke warm, not much confidence in either Party. But 
not the least in the Jackson-Van Buren Loco Foco party. I have little confidence 
in the stability of our Government. There is no virtue nor honesty among our 
Politicians, and very little among the common People, and without Virtue, I do 
not believe any government will long stand unless by the strong force of the 
Bayonet. I hope there is some chance of Clays election,^ and it is the only time 
that I ever thought there was. Still he is most too great a man and most too much 
of a gentleman to suit the People. Benton would please them better." 

Your last Letter was too short. I always admired your Letters filled out to the 
last inch. It always gives me great pleasure to hear from you and you must not be 
ceremonious. If you sometimes write two to my one, you must not mind it. 

With much affection, regard, and respect to Michael & Family, Stoughton, 
and your own Household, let me once more conclude by subscribing myself your 
sincere Friend & Brother, 

E Fletcher 

'Elizabeth Fletcher was enrolled at the Georgetown Academy in 1842. The term bill, dated Sept. 5, lists 
the following:: "6 months board, tuition, &c., in advance, $80.00; Stationery 2.50, Doctor's fee, 1.50; Use 
of bed &c. 5; Mending 2; Washing 6; drawing 10, Half lessons in music 12.75; Amt. of school books 
4.1877. Total, 123.9377. Cr. by cash of her brother; her Father is responsible." Term bills were also recorded 
in Mar. and Sept. 1S43, according to Sister Mary Leonard Whipple's letter of Feb. 7, 1964. "Widely 

known as Bishop Doane's School, St. Mary's Hall was established in 1837 by the Rt. Rev. George W. Doane, 
in connection with the parish church (Porter Sargent, ed.. The Handbook of Priz'ate Schools [Boston, 1963], 
p. 346). Indiana was enrolled from Nov. 1843 until Oct. 1844, according to records at St. Mary's Hall. 
^ Indiana did indeed carry off high honors. "At the Distribution of 1843, she was one of those who played the 
processional, 'Russian March,' and was one of the only two on whom were conferred Academic Honors, by 
which we suspect is meant graduation honors. She received a ticket of merit in bookkeeping, a third prize in 
history, botany, and astronomy; the second In chemistry, in philosophy, and in the harp; and third prize In 
oil painting and in tapestry" (from Sister Mary Leonard Whipple's letter of June 23, 1953). "* Asa's son, 

Horace A., became a merchant in Indianapolis (Fletcher, op. cit., p. 143). ^ In the election of 1844, 

Henr>' Clay (1777-1S52), the Whig candidate, was defeated by James K. Polk (1795-1849). ''Thomas 

Hart Benton (1782— 1858), Democrat from Missouri, did not become a candidate. 



Lynchburg 
May 30, 1844 
Dear Brother, 

Yesterday I received yours containing a Draft for $200.98 for Dividends on 
Indianapolis Bank Stock for the last half year. I am pleased to learn that the 
Bank is in such a favorable condition and that there is a fair prospect that 
hereafter it will pay reasonable interest. You allude in your Letter to the 
pecuniary matters between us. I regret that anything that has occurred has caused 
you pain or uneasiness. I have ever had confidence and never troubled mvself 
about the matter. I have ever told my Famih' and Friends that \ou would do 
what was right. I have left it entirely to you to suit your convenience. I have only 
felt anxious that my original design of this Fund should be perfected. As to the 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 190 

Payments you propose, they will suit me, and you can extinguish the debt in such 
instalments as may best suit. When you are ready to pay, let me know and I will 
advise the way of payment that will best suit. I do not know that I kept a correct 
account of the Interest as you paid it up but I send you a statement as I kept it. 
See if this be right and correct the errors and settle it up to the time you stopped 
paying Interest. 

Timothy will start for Vermont and will go by the way of Indiana tomorrow. 
He will stop a day or so in Fincastle and perhaps a day or two in Madison, in 
Indiana, where I have a debt against Mr Haase, so he will be with you most as 
soon as you receive this. Forget and forgive if any thing has been wrong and 
spend your Time with him as a Brother. If I should think seriously of all the 
little foolishness that I sometimes hear from him, my wife and children, and 
other Friends, I should always be unhappy. I never quarrel with my relations. I 
intend to act right and let them say and do as they please. 

Tell Stoughton not to foreward any money here but keep it till Tim comes and 
pay what he can to him, by whom I send a statement of my account against him 
up to this time. I have accorded him full credit for all the money he says he paid 
in Vermont on account of our Father. I would be glad if he would make it 
convenient to pay about $200 to Timothy as he starts on a long trip with a short 
purse. Whatever balance there may be, let him settle up to this time and give a 
new Bond for all that may be due. I hope Stoughton will not think hard of this 
request. These money matters between Brothers are disagreeable and ought 
never to exist. But as it is, we must exercise the best feelings and close them 
without the least jar in our Brotherly affections. 

We are building at Sweetbrier Plantation the great Barn so long talked 
of — 100 feet long and 40 wide, with a basement story of Rock. We are doing it 
principally with our own hands and may not complete it with its yards and sheds 
this year. The crop prospects look well. Early wheat is now beginning to be 
harvested, but the principal crop will not be ready for some Fifteen days. I have 
procured a Reaper that goes by horses, which is said to cut clean from 1 5 to 20 
Acres per day. It was invented by a Mr McCormick of Rockbridge County and 
cost $100.^ 

Lucian is staying with us, studying Law. Thinks of applying for a Licence in 
the Fall and perhaps start for the far west to try his Luck in Practice. Sidney will 
retire from the Plantation in November and if he does not go to Europe, he will 
visit his Friends in the West, and particularly his Uncle Calvin, of whom he 
often talks much. 



164.84 


1634? 


128.?? 


138.?? 


139-90 



PART II: 1830-1858 191 

STATEMENT 

38 June Paid to Timothy six shares of Bank Stock estimated at $327.62 

39 Mch Advance in purchase of Bank Stock 16.45 
May " " " " 151.55 
Dec " " " 

40 May « « " 

41 Jan « « " 
June " « " 
Dec. with money sent to Mrs Crawford 

1228.10 

To interest on $4087.81 from Dec i, 1837 to Dec i, 1841, $1308.10 

Write me soon. Tim will tell all the news. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^ Cyrus McCormick (1809—84) first demonstrated his reaper in 1831 near Steele*s Tavern, just across the 
Blue Ridge west of New Glasgow. 

Lynchburg 
Sept. I, 1844 
Dear Brother, 

I will occupy a few leisure moments with the agreeable employment of again 
addressing you a few lines. Timothy has not yet returned but has written me one 
Letter since his arrival at our old Homestead. He represents our aged Mother as 
spry and active in bodily health, but that her mind had given way, that she had 
lost her recollection. This is quite melancholy to me. I hoped once more to have 
seen her with her original vigor of mind, and not as a second child. He said that 
one of your sons was there spending the vacation. I do not expect Tim home till 
the last of this month. 

Since the last of June we have had a warm and very dry season. It has much 
affected the corn and Tobacco crops. Ever}'thing looks parched up and dry and, 
the weather having turned cool, resembles December after the Frosts. 

Bettie returned home from Georgetown the ist of August. Lucian went for 
her. She will not attend that school any more, but will sail with Sidnev and Inda 
for Europe in the latter part of October or ist of November. The)' will take a 
Havre Packet, go directly to France and make their first location in Paris, where 
they will spend some twelve months, then go to Italy and spend perhaps six 
months, and then spend six months in Switzerland, Germany, and return home 
by way of England in about two years. 

Sidney intends to pursue and complete his medical studies in Paris. Inda and 
Bettie will enter some school there.' Inda can now speak the French pretty 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 192 

fluently, as well as the Italian, and will have to be for a while Interpreter, as 
Sidney and Bettie can only read French. Inda will not return home and I shall 
not see her before she starts. She has found an excellent school in Burlington and 
has much improved. I anticipate much pleasure from her Foreign Correspond- 
ence. She writes with great care and some elegance, is very happy in describing 
Scenery and passing events. Her mind is bent on improvement and little occupied 
by the light Frippery and Foolish fashions of the day. 

Lucian will likewise leave me in October or November for the West, where he 
thinks of seeking his Fortune. So I shall be left quite alone. I will endeavor to so 
arrange it that Lucian may make you a short visit on his way South West. He is 
not very well settled but somewhat visionary in his calculations about the Future. 
I am willing for him to try his luck, go among strangers and depend upon 
himself for a while. He will then know the better how to appreciate a home, 
where every thing has been Plenty, Ease and Comfort. I want him to be with you 
a few days. Your Experience can give him good advice that may be useful to 
him. 

You stated in your letter of May last that in the course of the Fall you 
intended paying me $ i ,000. Sometime in November or December, Gen. Watson, 
who married Judith Crawford, intends moving to Missouri and [I] as Trustee 
for his wife shall have to place Funds in that Country to something like that 
amount." I had thought it would suit your convenience best for me to draw upon 
you in his Favor, so you could arrange to pay the amount there instead of sending 
it to this country. You must write me your pleasure about it. 

There are plenty of Politics and political enthusiasm hereabouts, but these 
things occupy but little of my attention. Every thing, however, seems to look 
favorable to the Whig cause. 

Remember [me] kindly to your Family, to our Brothers and their Families, 
and to Richardson, and let me once more bid you adieu by subscribing myself 
your affectionate Brother, 

E Fletcher 

You sometimes like to have a young man as an assistant in your Office. If you 
could put Lucian to work and I could pursuade him to stop with you, instead of 
going South, till he learned some good hard sense, it would gratify me much. 
Lucian is sufficiently [towering] — too much so for his acquired abilities. He has 
many lofty Fox'tan^ notions and wants very much practical information. He is 
somewhat headstrong and thinks few know better or more than he does. I have 
said nothing to him about this project and will not till I hear from you. 

^Indiana was 1 6 and Elizabeth 13 at this time. *^ Julia Crawford married Ralph Watson, although 

the marriage is not recorded in the family Bible nor in the Amherst County Register of Marriages (see 
letter of Oct. 16, 1841, n.z). ^Thls may be a reference to England's great ^'opposition" statesman 
and eloquent orator, Charles James Fox (1749— 1806). 



PART II: 1830-1858 193 

Tusculum Plantation 
Oct. 6, 1 844 
Dear Calvin, 

I write you this to acknowledge the Receipt of the Draft for $1000 dollars 
(one thousand dollars) and to send \ou the Power of Attorney you requested. As 
to our money matters I will say nothing now. To me it is always disagreeable to 
talk about such things with a Brother I love. 

Sidney winds up his Plantation affairs and starts for Lynchburg tomorrow, 
where he will spend with his mother a week, and on the 14th leave for a Foreign 
country. He goes well fortified with good Letters: one from the Secretary of 
State^ to our Minister, Mr King," in France and from Mr Rives' and Mr Archer,* 
our Senator, to Mr King; several Letters to our Consul, Mr Walsh ;' some 
private Letters to Physicians there. He starts with two thousand dollars, which I 
expect will last him the first year. 

Tim and Miles will meet the children in N.York on the 22nd and they will 
sail in the Packet Ship, Burgundy, for Havre on the 24th. The passage will be 
for Paris — 160 miles b\' land and about 200 by the River. It takes about 20 hours 
to go it by land in their Diligence, unless they have lately got a Rail Road. I part 
with the children cheerfully (a melancholy cheerfulness), hoping it will be for 
their good. Farewell! 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 



■* John C. Calhoun (1782— 1850) was Tyler's secretary of state at this time. "William Rufus Devane 

King (1786— 1853) was appointed minister to France in 1844 by President Tyler. ^William Cabell Rives 
(1793— 1868) was born in .Amherst County, not far from New Glasgow. He served twice as minister to 
France (1829—32, 1849—53) ^^^ represented Virginia in the Senate several times between 1832 and 1845. 
* William Segar .Archer (1789— 1855) was elected to the Senate as a Whig, serving from 1841 to 1847, 
^ Robert Walsh (1784— 1859) was appointed consul-general in Paris in 1844) and served until 1851. 



Lynchburg 
Feb. 7th, 1 845 
Dear Brother, 

I ought before this to have answered yours of the 2nd of Dec. enclosing a 
Check for $648.74 — One hundred and Forty Eight dollars and seventy four cents 
of which was intended for the last half \ears Dividends upon my Bank Stock in 
the Indianapolis Branch of the Bank of Indiana.' The remainder, to wit, $500, to 
be applied to the credit of your Indebtedness to me. 

I have been pretty busily employed in my round of business of late. Sidney 
being away, and having obtained two new overseers to initiate into my business, 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 194 

has left me little leisure to devote to the correspondence of absent Friends. I have 
adopted a plan to employ young men without any, or small, Families as 
overseers, giving them from $iooto$i30a year instead of those at from $200 to 
$350 and supporting large Family. So far I like the change and, with a little 
more attention of mine, think I can get along fully as well. At any event, if I 
make nothing, I shall not spend much. 

We hear from Sidney since his arrival in Europe about once a month. He and 
the girls write long and interesting Letters. They are well situated in Paris, the 
girls in a good school and Sidney gaining what information he can, with his slight 
knowledge of the French Language, from the Medical Lecture. They have 
found their expenses much to exceed their expectation but if they make good use 
of their time and opportunities, I shall not give them grudgingly. Their 
correspondence has been solicited by the Editors of the Virginian and two of 
Sidneys Letters have already appeared in that paper. I will endeavor to procure 
copies of such as contain their Letters and send you. 

Lucian was much pleased with your Letter giving a description of how he 
would have to live if he came to Indianapolis. He concluded at last, however, to 
start by way of the sea for N.Orleans and perhaps locate there. He landed after a 
Fifteen days pleasant Passage from Norfolk to N.O. Soon after his arrival there, 
he was taken sick with a Fever but at his last note from there, the lOth of 
January, he was on the recovery and so homesick that so soon as he was able he 
intended to go up to his uncle Van Trumps" in Mississippi, then to Louisville and 
home. I have written him to be sure and go to see you on his route. 

We hear very seldom from our Friends in Vermont. Tim looks well and seems 
to enjoy himself much, has little to do and sometimes I think a little indolent. 
We have up to this time had a pleasant winter. The grass has always looked 
green and the volunteer oats have been growing. A day or two past we had a 
snow about shoe deep and it continued quite cold after it. We have finished all 
our winter plowing for next summers corn and are now hauling saw mill logs, 
making and repairing Fences &c. I still spend much of my time in the country. 
Maria sticks close to town and enjoys very good health, except now and then a 
touch of the Rheumatism. 

Your last Letter was unusually short. You must embrace some opportunity to 
write me a good long one, for it always gives me great pleasure to hear from you. 
It seems as if I should never find an opportunity to visit you. If in my power, it 
would gratify me highly to do so. You must remember me kindly to Michael, to 
Stoughton, to Michaels Family, to Richardson, and to all your Family, and let 
me conclude with the assurance of my unaltered affection for you. 

E Fletcher 



PART II: 1830-1858 195 

Tusculum Feb. 6, '45 

On my way here this evening I found at the C.House yours of Jan. 28, '45, 
containing a check for $500 to be applied to your indebtedness to me. I have 
opened this Letter to announce the fact. I intended to have mailed my Letter as I 
came on but finding one from you, I concluded to bring it on and open it here and 
add a reply if it required it. It has been a cold and windy day but the sun shines 
and the wind at my back, I did not suffer much. I do not yet mind the weather, 
and this winter business has made me be out on horseback the coldest weather. 

I observed when the children sailed from N. York, among the Passengers 
named in the N York papers, a Mr Smith from Indianapolis but the children 
have never mentioned him in any of their Letters. Sidney found on board one of 
his old classmates at Yale, from Boston. Likewise Mr and Mrs Lawrence from 
Boston, who had previously resided in Paris. Mrs L was very kind to the girls on 
the passage and very attentive to them since in Paris. Their Letters of 
introduction to our minister, Mr King, to Dr Martin, Secretary of Legation, and 
Mr Walsh, our Consul, and others have placed them at once in the best Society. 
The girls expected to be presented to the Queen'^ on the ist of Jan. and attend 
her Ball on the 4th. Bettie is so delighted with Paris, she wants to stay there six 
years. If they have health, they will have an interesting time and I hope profit by 
their opportunities. 

Your Brother, 
E.F. 

^Calvin Fletcher became president of this bank in 1843. He retained the office until the charter expired 
in 1857 (Dunn, op. cit., I, 343, 350). 'Van Trump Crawford, a younger brother of Maria's. ^Louis- 

Philippe's queen was Marie-Amelie. It is quite likely that a court presentation for Indiana and Elizabeth w'as 
arranged by their parents' former neighbor, William Cabell Rives. His relations with the French court were 
so amicable that the Queen was godmother to his eldest daughter and conferred her own name on the child 
{D.A.B., XV, 636). 



Lynchburg 
June 2, 1 845 
Dear Brother, 

By the last mail I received yours of the 2 ist ult. covering a check on a 
Philadelphia Bank for $200 98/100 for Dividends on Bank Stock up to this time. 
I also received early in April a letter containing a Draft for $500, to be credited 
to your indebtedness to me, which I ought to have acknowledged the receipt of 
sometime ago. 

Nothing new has occurred of much importance since I last wrote you. I hear 
from the Children in Europe regularly. They enjoy good health and I hope are 
making the best use of their opportunities. They are still in Paris, where they will 
stay till the first of August, when they will journey to Switzerland and in the 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 196 

early fall to Italy and spent perhaps their winter at different points on the 
Medeterranean — Rome, Greece, Egypt & Holy Land. Their Letters are 
interesting. They seem to find much besides their schools to amuse and instruct 
the inquisitive mind. Lucian is now some where in the Mississippi. He has been 
with his Uncle Trump. What will be his ultimate destination I cannot say. He 
seems to want his own way and I am willing to let him have it. Tim will start in 
a few days to spend his summer in "\^ermont. 

I was pleased with the remark Mrs Crawford made in a Letter from 
Louisville to her Friends here about your son that went there to have an 
operation performed on his Eyes. She seemed much pleased with his deportment 
and said she would give anything if her Boys could learn to work and be as smart 
as your son. I was pleased likewise with your observation about your son that left 
College, that he did not properly appreciate the advantages and privileges that 
you were laboring to give him and for that reason you was compelled to deprive 
him of them. My determination is fixed about the management of Boys: to be 
kind to them and give them every opportunity to make themselves useful citizens 
and an ornament to Society, if they are disposed to properly appreciate those 
opportunities, and if not, take the opportunities from them. Do not give them 
money to spend on demoralizing and destroying themselves. My money flows as 
freely as the water down the gentle Stream so long as it adds to the improvement 
and permanent happiness of my Children, but they shall not have it, if I live, to 
throw away on dissipation or unworthy objects. It has been earnt by pains taking 
and it is my duty to Society that it shall be spent usefully. If my children do not 
know how to use and take care of it, I can make it useful in a thousand charitable 
purposes, had I not other needy relations who would properly value it. 

I never liked much the morality and tendency of the parable of the "Prodigal 
Son." I think a Man who has come to the years of discretion, that has had right 
instruction and will so conduct as to bring distress upon his parents, his brothers 
and sisters, and disgrace upon himself ought never to stand upon an equal footing 
with the kind, obedient and well behaved, and if children were more often cast 
off and disinherited for bringing our "gray hairs with snow to the Grave," they 
would be a little more careful how they conducted. But the present practice and 
the feeling is to distribute our Estate and favors to Children equally, to the 
undeserving as much as the deserving, that all should be equally dear to us. I 
think differently and though, with equal good intentions on their part, all ought 
to be equally dear, but if one wantonly and wilfully perseveres to distress and 
make me unhappy, what obligation do I owe him? Ought I not to cast him off, 
forget him, and not be rendered unhappy by him? Each of my fingers are useful 
and dear to me and I should dislike to loose either, but should one become 
diseased and the bone carious and threatened the welfare of the rest of the body, 
I ought cheerfully to cut it off and cast it away, and not grieve for it. 

We have had a disagreeable Spring — at first cold, then dry, then hard washing 



PART II: 1830-1858 197 

rains. Last night was a frost. The straw and fences looked white this morning. I 
do not think it has done much damage. Our wheat crop after all looks pretty well. 
I am as busy as usual and a little more so. The death of a confidential friend last 
winter, who thought more of me than his relations, brought upon me a Law suit 
which has taken much time to prepare for. I am now ready for it and do not fear 
the consequences. 

As often as you find time to write, it will be agreeable for me to hear from you. 
With respects and love for all, let me once more subscribe myself your 
Brother, 

E Fletcher 

Lynchburg 
April 26, '46 
Dear Brother, 

By "putting off till tomorrow what ought to be done to day," I have neglected 
writing \'ou sometime. I will not make the excuse of hurry or want of time, for I 
believe with proper occupation of every moment one has time to perform every 
duty. I received your kind Letter of April i a few days ago. It announced the 
melancholy event of the death of our ever revered mother,^ a fact which I had 
previoush' learnt, and which we all have cause to deplore. I respond to every 
sentiment which you so handsomely and feelingly have written on this sad 
occasion and there is nothing left me to express concerning it, but while I live 
shall remember it with a sorrow that cannot be soothed. 

The proposition you make about the homestead of our Parents and the home 
of our youthful days is worthy of you and pleases me much. Some thing of a 
disinterested character like that you propose will meet my views and will no 
doubt Timothys. He has acted a creditable part towards his Mother and has all 
the proper feelings in respect to the property and its preservation, while any of us 
live, for the home of the Family. There had been some wish by Lucy to obtain 
some of the Furniture but he wrote immediately to the man who rents the Farm 
and to Susan that nothing should be touched till he came on, to have all our 
mothers wardrobe carefully preserved, which should then be distributed between 
the living Sisters and the daughters of those deceased," that the Furniture and 
fixtures should remain untouched, and that the Farm should be the common 
home of us all or our children. No money can purchase it and all propositions to 
purchase from Friends or enemy will be promptly rejected and among the 
enemies I shall ever class as first Asa Fletcher, the constant and abusive enemy of 
our Father, without the least provocation, in his life time. I had probably more 
and better opportunities to witness his active malignant enmity towards our 
venerated Father than you had, and time nor pretended present Friendship for 
any of us will now efface from my memory his unnatural course towards our 
forever venerated Father. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 198 

Tim intends having an iron railing around the graves of our parents put up 
this summer and a suitable tombstone prepared for our mother. If you are 
desirous to prepare a superscription you can do so, and forward to him at Ludlow 
where he will be by the ist of June to spend the summer. He can attend to these 
matters better than you or I and has not much else to do, and he seems to take it 
upon himself to perform with much alacrity and pleasure. 

Stephen Williams' reached Lynchburg a week ago and will, I hope, 
spend some time with us. He is in delicate health. It always gives me pleasure to 
be vsited by my relations. I have many times regretted that you never found it 
convenient to let some of your children come to see me. I hope you will hereafter 
find an opportunity for them to do it. 

From my children in Europe we have Letters up to the ist of March from 
Florence. Early in April they proposed leaving Italy for Spain and after 
spending a short time there, proceed to Paris and spend their summer in the 
North of Europe, and they have some idea of remaining another winter in Paris 
and returning home next spring instead of next fall as they originally intended. 
The first winter they spent in Paris was somewhat in seclusion and study; the 
next will be more for society and gaining general information. But I begin to feel 
a little solicitous for their return. I have not till lately felt a want of their society 
or Sidneys assistance. But for some time past, a little loneliness has come over my 
mind and their presence would much cheer me. Yet as they have gone so far, I 
wish them to enjoy every opportunity for improvement that they may return 
content and not have to regret that they had not staid longer to see this or learn 
that. 

Now I will speak of money matters, a theme that Friends ought never to talk 
to each other about. Your Letter of the ist April contained a check for $700 
which I acknowledge, as well as a check transmitted in a letter of about the 26th 
of Jan for $700, both of which is to go to the credit of your indebtedness to me. 
I have receipted for all you have remitted ; you must hunt up the Letters 
containing these receipts and make out your own statement. You must likewise 
make a deed for me, to reconvey your land back, which I will execute and return 
to you. 

I feel concerned about Michaels health and mind. I had hoped I might have 
been permitted once more to see him as he was and I still trust he may recover his 
vigor of body as well as mind and enjoy a happy and cheerful old age. 

With the kindest remembrance to all our relations, your family in particular, I 
subscribe myself once more your affectionate Brother, 

E Fletcher 

■'Lucy Keyes Fletcher was 8i when she d!ed Mar. lo, 1846. ^Louisa Fletcher Miller died in 1836; 

Laura Fletcher Button in 1844. ^Stephen Keyes Williams (1819-1916) was the second son of Lucy 
Fletcher and Dr. Richard P. Williams. 



PART II: 1830-1858 199 

Lynchburg 
May 15, 1846 
Dear Brother, 

I received your communication day before yesterday regarding our Brother 
Stoughton. Nothing could gratify me more than the proposal you make for him 
to come and spend the summer with me and I think nothing would be more 
condusive to the restoration of his health. I spend most of my time in the 
Country, where he could be with me at leisure and his ease, with a good horse for 
him to ride and servants a plenty to wait on him. He could ride with me 
occasionally to my mountain Pastures, eat corn bread and drink Buttermilk with 
my herdsman, and ramble about upon the lofty summits and deep gorges of the 
mountains, inhaling the purest air and drinking water more pure if possible than 
the one at our old homestead in Vermont. I will do anything in my power to 
facilitate his travelling here. I will send Dan out to meet him if it be thought 
best, though if Richardson starts with him I think he had better come all the way. 
It will take but a day or two and it gives us all so much pleasure to see him, and 
he may never be as near to us again as Geondotte [Guyandotte] or have as good 
an opportunity to visit, and that would save him time of writing to me to have a 
servant meet him. But let them start as soon as Stoughtons strength would 
permit. 

I lost not a moment in writing to Stoughton urging to come on and offering 
him a welcome reception. Nothing would be more pleasing to me, for I am 
sometimes rather lonesome, having no other company than business and the 
necessary correspondence of my Friends. If he can relieve himself from the cares 
of his business and too much anxiety about his family, I think a trip here will tend 
to restore him to health. 

Stephen Williams has been with us for two or three weeks past. He is a 
modest, intelligent young man of delicate health, which he proposes to try to 
regain by this trip.^ He is much delighted with our mountain scenery and 
mountain fare. He has gone this evening up to Buffalo Springs,^ a Sulphur water, 
and then intends going to my mountain pasture for the purpose of catching 
Trout, of which the pure, cool streams abound. He rode with me there a week 
ago and continued his ride to Lexington and the natural Bridge. 

I only have time to write you in haste, to tell you how cheerfully I will do 
anything to aid the proposals you make about Stoughton, and with a thousand 
good wishes for your prosperity and welfare, subscribe myself your Brother, 

E Fletcher 



^ He was graduated from Union College at i8, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, among the first in his class. 
He became a prominent lawyer in New York State, served in the state senate and held various other civic 
ofiices. Union College conferred on him an honorary LL.D. degree (Cowles, op. clt., pp. 5-6). ^ Today 

U.S. 60 crosses the Blue Ridge between Amherst and Lexington very close to the earlier route, not far from 
the site of the old Buffalo Springs, near Forks of Buffalo, or from Elijah's high pastures on Long Mountain 
and Cold Mountain (see letter of Aug. 1812, n.l). 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 200 

To Sidney, Indiana, and Elizabeth Fletcher 

Sweetbrier 
Aug. 21, '46 
Dear Children, 

I cannot forego the pleasure of writing you a few lines, though I know not but 
you may have started on your homeward journey before they reach Europe.^ You 
never have stated what time you would probably leave for home, and I will 
continue to write till I learn that fact. 

We have for the last three weeks had warm weather without rain but cloudy 
and every day threatening. At and about the Springs and below on James River 
they are too wet, but Pauls mountain" this time has divided the Clouds and left us 
here dry. At Tusculum they have had plenty of rain and [a shower? ] last week 
that overflowed the creek Bank. A little more here would have helped the second 
planting of Corn, but we shall make enough any how and the Tobacco has not 
suffered. But it has ran me hard in plowing and I have been shifting about till to 
night. I have turned out the horses, finding no more land that will do to plow till 
a rain. We have been plowing for several days at James McDaniels.^ The new 
ground or lawn part, though dry, was light and mellow and then we run along 
the branches to the road. We have pastured a few horses there but nothing to 
keep the weeds and clover down. You would be much pleased with the fruit in 
our orchard. There are all varieties and old Mr Richardson did justice in the 
Selection. It would be a great amusement for Inda and Bettie to go from tree to 
tree and try the new fruit. 

I have been to and returned from Tusculum today. Lucian has just finished 
this morning getting out his wheat. He thinks there will be 1 500 bushels, but if 
he cleans out 1000 I tell him he will do very smart. That crop will be sent to the 
River and shipped to Richmond for sale at a cost of 1 6 cents and the present price 
there is ninety cents, in Lynchburg 65 to 70. So you see it does not vary much 
from the prices for a few years past. It never has been supposed that the change 
of the Corn laws in England would have much effect here.^ Indeed 
communications between that country and this is now so rapid and quick, there 
will never be much chance for speculation, and the grain dealers last year lost so 
much on the speculation that from the expected want and demand in Europe that 
dealers this year are very cautious. I shall be satisfied with an average of 70 cents. 
It is now Superior Court, commencing yesterday. There is a criminal to be tried 
for stabbing and murdering a gentleman at Appomattox Court House, the new 
County formed out of Buckingham &C.'' It happened the winter after you left 
America. He is a young Lawyer by the name of May. It is a case that excited so 
much feeling in that County he had to be removed here for trial and it will no 
doubt occupy much of the Term, but I hope the case of Mrs Baumes and mine 
will be tried. 



PART II: 1S30-185S 201 

Saturday Aug. 22. 

Your Letters from Kiel &c have just been received and with great joy. Your 
mamma got much alarmed for fear you were in the Cars that left Paris the 8th 
July and were destroyed about Arras. But I told her you were to leave Paris the 
2nd or 3d, and besides it stated that the accident happened to the Lille train and 
not the Belgian. I saw the particulars in Mr Walsh's letters, who continues to 
write often for the Intelligencer. I fear Sidney has not enjoyed his Northern 
Trip as much as I hoped he would, but as you had to spend the summer 
somewhere, perhaps you could not have done better. But as I have often told you, 
you must [not] regard my suggestions about your movements but go and stay 
and come as it best suits you all upon mutual consultation. Inda writes about 
buying a Watch for herself and giving me hers. I thank her for her kind 
suggestion, and if Sidney can make the monied arrangement, let it be done. That 
is if he draws for more on my Letter of Credit, add enough for that, or if he 
have enough any way for that purpose. It is so inconvenient to get Bills of 
Exchange, I shall not have time to get one for that amount to send now. And it 
is my desire, if Lida or Bettie or Sidney see anything they wish to purchase and 
can make the monied arrangement, for them to do it. I shall be gratified with 
anything they do in this way and I have the pleasure to know they are so prudent 
I can trust them to any extent. I wish Inda would buy me a half dozen or less 
thick heavy cotton stockings for winter needs, such as she helped me to purchase 
in Philadelphia. 

All I want of you is when you get home to be satisfied with home as you find it. 
You know I am willing to improve and not niggardly in spending money for that 
purpose, but you know I have not had much time, if I had taste, since you have 
been gone, to devote to that purpose and after all, I think those things can be as 
well done when you return. I will then have more leisure and the improvements 
can be made after your own wishes. And it will be an amusement for you to assist. 
There has been so much uncertainty about your movements, I have not ever 
procured a Carriage but that can be done at any time, and I rather you would 
Select one as you come home. I wish you to call at N. Haven and Select one from 
Mr Beeches Factory. He is an old acquaintance of mine, formerly lived in 
Lynchburg and has now an agency there. I promised him to get one from him 
when you return. 

But when you come home the people will not estimate you by your finery. 
They will expect from you intelligence and mental adornment and not external 
show. They have all read that you rode on Mules and Donkeys and horses in 
your travels and will think you can do the same here. The whole country will 
think it an honor to associate and converse with you, but will not think a whit the 
better of you for geegaws and finery. Still I wish you to appear in neat and rich 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 202 

and genteel apparel. 

As to improvements, I say I want your taste and acquired information about 
them. Sid and I could not agree when he first came home from College about 
little improvements but when he comes home now I will give up to him, only put 
in a word of humble old fashioned advise now and then. I think, as I wrote you 
before, we must make a genteel home in Lynchburg for a centre and then our 
rural establishment we will make and adorn as becomes simple rural 
establishments. Your mammas present plan is not to do much this fall in the way 
of Improvement, but for her and Inda & Bettie to spend the next summer in the 
north and buy such articles of Furniture as she may want. I hope, I say, you will 
be contented with home. It is an interesting place to me and I have no wandering 
notions and never shall be induced to leave it. 

I have picked out my final resting place on the round top of Woodroofs 
Mound.'' I used to converse with Sidney about it, how I wanted an area enclosed 
and a plain White marble obelisk 20 feet high. And this enclosure I would like 
cultivated in fine Trees and shrubs and flowers and that all my children should 
meet there once a year and prune and trim and cultivate it. You may think It 
strange that such thoughts should occupy my mind, but they do, and could I 
think you would all be wise and prudent and smart and happy and prosper in the 
world, I could contemplate these things with pleasure. I meditate upon those 
events as composedly as my daily occupations, having lived a blameless life with 
the best intentions, the future has no dread to me. Still I hope Providence will 
allow us to spend many happy days together. 

Sidney, that Woodroof mound would make a good grapery if more convenient 
to the house. It is the right kind of soil, the Southern exposure of black rock, and 
nicely terraced, would look beautifully. As you say, the Girls have become such 
wine Bibbers that it will be necessary to have a Grapery. Well, what can be done 
with the Mulberry Farm?^ You know all about Silk Culture. Will it ever do.'' I 
dislike to rent out that place. If I could get some Projecter to take charge of it 
without expense to me, I would prefer it. A Garden with a good nursery. Peaches 
would be a fine crop. I have been talking about moving the Cocoonery to town. 
Mr. Evans moved his last winter and gets $35 Rent as a Tobacco Factory. I 
believe Bettie claims the Mulberry Farm as one of her Estates and she must 
study out some plan to improve it and make it valuable. Sidney will say this is all 
"piddling" and I will say no more about it. 



Sunday morning Aug 23 
Yesterday was a very oppressively hot day with Thunder and lightning in the 
evening but no rain till after dark, when there was a short shower that laid the 
dust and has cooled the air a little, but I fear not enough to enable them to plow 
tomorrow. I would have gone to Lynchburg yesterday evening but Ambrose 



PART II: 1830-1858 203 

Hayden promised to come and settle with me this morning, but it is ten and has 
not come. After dinner I shall go to town and return tomorrow and will then 
finish this Letter and mail it for the next mornings stage. It is a pleasant day. 
All quiet. The whole face of the earth looks green, weeds as high as your head 
and yesterday on the meadows cut the second crop of Clover. We have cut some 
clover and weeds on our Wheat land and should get much more fine hay if we 
had time, but must begin tomorrow to pull the Fodder. 

^ This letter was found among Indiana's papers at Sweet Briar. ^ Paul's Mountain dominates the view 

to the west from the campus of Sweet Briar College. ^ He was the former owner of some of the land 
which was incorporated into the Sweetbrier plantation, as shown in Elijah Fletcher's will (Amherst County 
Will Book, XIV, 527-28). *A reference to the repeal of the corn laws in England in 1846, under the 

government headed by Sir Robert Peel. ^Appomattox County, Va., was established in 1845. ^Elijah's 

grave is on the summit of what is now known as Monument Hill, which had formerly belonged to the 
Woodroof family and was used as their burial ground. A shaft of white marble, cut in Fairhaven, Vermont, 
marks his resting place. The area is enclosed by a sturdy stone wall, and it is graced by ornamental trees 
and shrubs, just as he specified. This was one of Elijah's properties near Lynchburg. Several land- 

owners in the area attempted silk culture at the time. 



Lynchburg 
Aug. 23, 1846 
Dear Brother, 

I have delayed a few days acknowledging the Rect of yours of July 22nd 
enclosing $500 to be used as a credit to your indebtedness to me. Your Letters are 
ever welcome and revive me. They always contain so warm an expression of 
feeling for our family and such an interest for the fame and credit of it, that it 
sooths and refreshes me to read them. The part you propose to act towards 
Brother Jesse is noble and praiseworthy. He has some good qualities but early 
fell into bad company and led him into paths thorny and disagreeable to travel. 
Even,' days experience confirms me more and more in the wisdom of an honest, 
upright and correct course in all our dealings and doings. It is the only way to be 
happy in this world, to say nothing about the next. I was disappointed in not 
having the pleasure of Stoughtons company this summer. But you give me some 
encouragement that he may spend the next winter with me. Suppose you let one 
of your sons accompany him and remain with us. Sidney will probably then be 
here and would be much pleased to have him assist in Plantation operation or if 
he preferred it, he could go to school. Your proposition of sending one to Ludlow 
would be ver)' acceptable. You have frequently promised to send me one of your 
Boys to stay with me awhile but never have yet done it. Why cannot the one at 
College return to Indiana this fall by this route and spend a short time here.'' I 
would like very much to see him. 

Sidney and the girls will probably be at home sometime this fall. Their Letters 
have reached us to the 20th July from Copenhagen in Denmark. The next day 
they were to to start for Russia. From that country they will go to Scotland and 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 204 

England, where they are probably at this time. They travelled from Paris to 
Belgium, then to Holland, then to Hanover, Holstein, Denmark &c — passed 
through Antwerp, Rotterdam, The Hague, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Kiel 
&c — and were much pleased with their trip. But Sidney is now tired of travelling 
and wants to get home. The girls never tire and want to go farther. I hope to see 
them all soon. We have had a wet summer and fine crops, much warm weather 
during this month, but a general time of good health. 

From Timothy I hear occasionally. He seems to be enjoying himself very 
much and writes interesting letters, recalling [vividly.'' ] to mind the scenes of 
our early days. He says they have located a Rail Road^ through the Farm, 
running on the bank of the opposite side of the River, that contracts will be made 
for the road as far as Proctorsville next winter. He represents all the Factories 
as promising and every thing in a flourishing state in that country. 

I have not time to write you a long Letter. You must remember me kindly to 
Michael and Stoughton & Richardson and your wife and all. 

I may not have acknowledged the Ret of $21 2 odd for Dividends of Bank 
Stock made last spring. If not consider this as such. 

Your affectionate Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^ A branch of the Rutland Railroad. 



Sweetbrier Plantation, Amherst 
Dec. 20, 1846 
Dear Brother, 

After acknowledging yours containing the check for Bank Dividends on my 
stock in the Indiana Bank to Dec. 1 846 for the amount of $204. 15,1 will write 
you a few lines rather on business which I hope you will not find it inconvenient 
for you to attend to. 

Several years past I had a claim against Jacob Haas of Madison in your state, 
which I sent to William S. Crawford of Louisville for collection, intending to 
pay the proceeds to Mrs. Crawford, expecting it would be paid on presentation. 
But he refused to pay and Mr Crawford put the claim into the hands of Mr 
Cushing, now Judge Cushing, for collection by suit.^ I sent $30 for expenses. 
After many promises of payment by Haas to the Lawyer and inattention to the 
business, suit was at length brought and Mr Cushing, being appointed Judge, 
handed over the business to a Lawyer by the name of Geo. S. Sheets for 
persecution and the matter was brought to a close, as you will perceive by the 
following extract [from] Mr Sheets Letter of the 8th of April 1 846 "Your case 
against Haas came to trial on the 27th March and I obtained a Judgment for 
$735 against the charge of the court and contrary to the expectation of the whole 



PART II: 1830-1858 205 

bar, myself included. The counsel for the Dft moved for a new trial and during 
the pendency of the motion, I compromised the case with the sanction of Judge 
Gushing, who placed the business in my hands, by taking from the Dft two notes, 
negotiable and payable at the Madison Bank of Indiana — one for $ioo at 4 
months, the other for $400 at 6 months and agreeing to pay one half the costs, 
which will be I presume about $15. The Bank discounts only four months paper. 
At the expiration of 60 days, I can have these notes discounted and close the 
whole matter, if this settlement meets your approval. Geo. S. Sheets." 

In reply I wrote him my "approval" and sometime thereafter, wishing to send 
$100 to Miss Connie Patten of Louisville,' I addressed a letter to Mr Sheets 
requesting him to get the $ioo note discounted and forward to Miss Patten. But 
this he did not do and Miss Patten sometime afterwards drew upon me for the 
$100. Mr Sheets never wrote any apology for not doing it, neither has he ever 
written me since. I waited till the ist of this month; then I wrote him a polite 
letter to forward the money after deducting what additional expenses there 
might be beside the $30 sent at first for expenses. I have not yet heard from him 
and begin to fear, as all the money must have been paid the last of September, 
that something is wrong, and what I wish you to do is to get to Madison and 
settle the affair. I give in the other sheet an order for Mr Sheets to pay any 
money to you. Should I in a short time hear from Mr Sheets, I will write to 
Madison, where you can enquire at the P.O. for a letter before applying to him. 

Sidney & his sisters arrived safe home the last of November after a perilous 
voyage of forty days across the Atlantic. They came directly to this Plantation, 
wishing to enjoy a little retirement after so much fatigue. S. is the same old thing 
and the girls as simple and unaffected as I could wish, school children with polish 
of manners and Intellectual improvement. You would be much pleased with 
them. Tim had remained in N.Y. till their arrival. They found likewise Miles & 
his wife there. We are spending our winter evenings very pleasantly in hearing 
them recount the varied incidents of their travels. They seem much pleased with 
their Northern travels through Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, then to 
England & Scotland. From England they returned to Paris and sailed from 
Havre for America. 

We have had a pleasant fall and no winter till a day or two past when a N 
Easter brought us a snow a foot deep which now covers the earth. I shall enclose 
this letter to Richardson to forward to you, if it find you from home, as you 
suggested you had to spend some time in Cincinnati towards the last of this 
month. We shall all go to Lynchburg early In January and take up winter 
quarters, except Sidne\' who has again gone to hard work. 

With respects to all let me simply subscribe my self your Brother 

E Fletcher 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 206 

To Geo. S. Sheets Esq, 

Please to transfer and pay over or cause to be paid over the amount of my 
recovery in your Madison court, at the March term, 1 846, against Jacob Haas to 
Calvin Fletcher of Indianapolis and this shall be your authority for so doing.^ 

E. Fletcher 
Lynchburg, Virginia, Dec. 21, 1846. 

In this cause I sent Mr Crawford four hundred dollars in Oct 1 846, or about 
that time. The note for one hundred I had negotiated for the payment of the 
costs and my fees as well as Judge Cushings. Mr Crawford had written to me 
that he had advanced previously to the trial of the cause $ten dollars to Judge 
Cushing. He is now absent in Washington. When he returns I shall see him on 
the subject of the ten dollars mentioned above and account for it according to his 
wishes. 

George S. Sheets 

^ This was probably Courtland Cushing, who was prosecuting attorney for Decatur County, 1833—37, ^nd 
judge in Franklin County, 1844—47 (^- J- Monks, ed.. Courts and Lawyers of Indiana [Indianapolis, 1916], 
pp. 642, 687). ~ Corinner Patten was the older daughter of Maria's sister, Sarah Crawford, and Elijah's 

cousin, John Patten (see letter of Apr. 8, 1838, n.i). ^ This note and the reply from Mr. Sheets, on the 

back, were found with this letter. 



Sweetbrier Plantation, Amherst 
(Sunday) May 9, '47 
Dear Brother, 

Yours of the 24th ult reminds me of my dereliction of duty in answering two 
or three of your welcome communications of last December and January. 
Carelessness or want of time made me defer getting your Deed executed while I 
have occasionally been in Lynchburg, for it has only been occasionally that I have 
visited that place during the past winter and then made a very short stay, and I 
have kept deferring writing till I get it in a shape to remit it to you. Its terms are 
perfectly satisfactorily and it shall be enclosed to you so soon as I go to town, 
which will be in a day or two. 

I was much gratified with your Letter from Cincinnati and sorry that I gave 
you the trouble to Call in Madison, but you there relieved My anxiety by 
communicating the situation of affairs there. Sheets behaved very ungentlemanly 
in the affair and in fact was no doubt ashamed to communicate to me the villainy 
of taking one fifth of the debt as a part of his share in the spoil. His ignorance in 
not bringing the suit right or not declaring so as to claim the Law and custom of 
Virginia instead of Indiana lost me some $200. The return of a sheriff on an 
Execution here of no Effects entitles the assignee of a Bond to go directly upon 
the Assigner without any arguing farther of the obligers ability or his having real 
Estate. It seems that Haas proved in this case that the obliger had a small Lot 



PART II: 1830-1858 207 

credited yet to him on the Commissioners Books, and it seems the laws of Indiana 
makes it the duty of the assignee to search out for both Real and personal 
Estate. 

William Crawford likewise conducted very badly in never communicating to 
me that he had got hold of the money. But under all the circumstances, while in 
the hands of two Land Pirates — for as such do I characterize most of the 
Law}ers of my acquaintance — perhaps I have come off pretty well. By the death 
of Williams mother-in-law' here — Mrs. Edmund Penn — he came in possession of 
some property and has lately been in here to receive it. I have just received from 
him information (for the first time) of his having received the money, and the 
money itself. 

Our Winter was a wet, muddy unpleasant one, our spring has been to this time 
very dr\' and cold, not having had rain since 25th March till yesterday. We are 
now seeding our corn. The prospect for Wheat not very good and for oats 
worse. 

Sidney the ist of March started on a trip to Florida and returned a week ago. 
His object was to seek out a site for a sugar Plantation, thinks it well to colonize a 
portion of our slaves in that region, being rather over stocked with them here, 
and knowing the culture of that article much more profitable than the products of 
this countr)-. His visit was to the Peninsula of East Florida, the country which 
the Seminoles have lately been compelled to quit. He found it a rude country, 
most every vestige of civilization laid waste by the Indians, for there were many 
well cultivated Plantations in the country. He selected a location on the Atlantic 
Coast about 60 miles south of St. Augustine at a place called Smyrna. Land is 
obtainable from $5 to $10 the Acre. I do not know that we shall settle it till fall 
after next. 

Inda & Bettie spend much of their time with me here and seem quite well 
reconciled to retirement and enjoy themselves and spend their time in reading 
and writing and sewing and music. They have here a very fine Piano and a 
splendid Harp that they purchased in London.^ They are likewise fond of 
rambling about and riding with me among the mountains. Yesterday morning 
they rode with Sidney on Horseback to Lynchburg and so I am alone here today. 
Maria spends most of her time in town, not liking much the countr}'. I promise 
Bettie and Inda a trip to the North. They will leave here in July and visit our 
early home, Boston, Saratoga, Niagara, and our relations at Newark. 

Tim will start for the north in a few days. I do not think he enjoys himself 
much in Lynchburg. He seems nowhere as happy as at the old Farm. He 
received some time ago a Newspaper printed at Ludlow Village! ! They have 
commenced a Rail Road from the Connecticut to Ludlow Village and are now at 
work on it. It passes through our old Farm on the side Hill over the River. 
Could we have anticipated such a sight as sitting in our house and seeing Rail 
Road cars pass along the Banks of Black River.'' When they get it in operation we 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 208 

must go there to see the sight, and I hope to be able to avail myself of the 
convenience of your Rail Road you mention in your last Letter before long. 

I shall have completed the main part of my improvements (should I live) 
here this year and then have a better opportunity to leave home. While one has 
many Mechanics about, they must attend to them. I was much pleased with the 
Extract of your sons Letter; it evinced much smartness and if he live and is 
steady, will do well. He to be sure is encountering many hardships and is running 
the risk of many dangers and perils.^ But I do not value life much while in the 
way of duty. A thousand times better for a youth to perish in laudable and noble 
enterprises than to live in idleness, dissipation and infamy. 

As I will write you again in a few days, I will only here add that you may rest 
assured of my unaltered attachment, and with respects to your Family, Michael 
and Family & Stoughton, will subscribe myself once more your 

Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^William Crawford, Jr., had married a cousin, Ann Fox Penn, In May 1827 (Amherst County Register 
of Marriages, I, 293). ^ The harp, still standing In the west parlor of Sweet Briar House, bears the In- 

scription; "Sebastian and Paul Erard, 18 Gt. Marlborough St., London." ^ This was probably Elijah, 
who spent about a year In Zacatccas, Mexico, with a Mexican trader named Gentry, according to entries 
in Calvin Fletcher's diary. 



Sweetbrier Plantation 
May 31, '47 
Dear Brother, 

I enclose you herewith the Deed of Release. I did not request Maria to join in 
it, as it was a transaction she knew nothing about. Whenever you find it to your 
interest to obtain it, you must come and see us and get it done. I am so selfish as to 
hold something that may make it to your interest one of these days to revisit us. 

My Family are all here with me in the country. Maria and Bettie & Lucian are 
at Tusculum near N Glasgow today. I was in Lynchburg yesterday. In 
conversing with your old Friend, David R. Edley,^ he made many kind inquiries 
after you, as he most frequently does, and wished me to mention to you that he 
still feels a lively interest in your welfare. He has become independent, owning a 
house in town and a little cottage Plantation a mile or two out of town," and was 
much at his ease. He took an amiable but rough Boy from Ohio a few years ago, 
David Ediey Spence, a nephew, educated him, who under the firm of Edley & 
Spence transacts the active business of the Legal concern. 

Tim has not yet started North but will this week or next. The cold backward 
spring has made him delay his start longer than he intended, as he wishes to be 
at the old Farm while they are making the Rail Road through it, to protect the 
place from unnecessary depredations. It is calculated when this Road is 
completed that we can start from the Farm in the morning, go to Boston and 



PART II: 1830-1858 209 

spend four hours and return at night to sleep. What a change from what it used 
to be when it took our wagons to go and return some two or three weeks! 

I feel much anxiety to hear from your son in Mexico and when you get any 
tidings from him, inform me. Our season still remains cool but late rains has given 
some new vigor to vegetation. Wheat is in full head, cherries are ripe, but there 
[are] very few in this part of the country, or any other kind of Fruit. We have at 
this plantation an abundance, as well as plenty of fine Field Strawberries. 

You may rest assured that nothing gives me more pleasure than to hear from 
you and I must beg you to embrace every opportunity to write me. With respects 
to all, I once more subscribe myself your affectionate Brother, 

E Fletcher 

^ David R. Edley (1788-1875) was a prominent citizen and lawyer in Lynchburg. In 1820 he was named 
commissioner of revenue, and four years later began the practice of law. In an early movement to establish 
public schools in Lynchburg, he was elected chairman and David E. Spence, secretary, of the citizens' group 
which met in Apr. 1846. Later Edley became vice-president of the Lynchburg Primary School Association, 
but lack of funds soon forced it to suspend operations (Christian, op. cit., p. 136). ^ Ediey's plantation, 

which is now the Fort Hill section of the city, was the site of the Battle of Lynchburg In June 1864. (Cata- 
logue of "The Image of an Age," an exhibit at the Lynchburg Fine Arts Center, Apr. 7— May 3, 1963). 

Sweetbrier Plantation 
July 18, 1847 
Dear Brother, 

Without any particular motive, your late letter has been sometime improperly 
neglected and I now, as alwaj^s, with much pleasure sit down to write you a few 
lines. Good health attend [s] us all. Tim is in Vermont but we have not heard 
from him since he left us. I expect he is enjoying himself at our old Family 
Residence. Sidney and Inda and Bettie will leave here in some two weeks on a 
trip to the North, perhaps visiting Niagara, Canada, the Saratoga, spend a week 
or two at Ludlow and a short time at Boston. The girls have very contentedly 
spent a retired and quiet life with me to this time. They are agreeable, pleasant, 
and affectionate children and I am gratified to say almost every thing I could 
[wish] as children. 

We have some three weeks past finished harvesting a thin but good crop of 
wheat and are now securing a tolerable crop of oats. The season has been 
somewhat remarkable, with a cool atmosphere, the Sun shining with a dim 
obscure light. There has not been during the season more than half a dozen 
brilliant, hot, sunshiny days. 

I enclose your Bond, not exactly as you requested to any third [person.' ] . That 
is not the way I have dealt with you, but from the first in full confidence. When 
you at first proposed giving security, I did not refuse it and have never faultered 
in perfect confidence that the affair would be terminated rightly. It has been, to 
be sure, a transaction that created in me much anxiety — Anxiety from [changes.' ] 
of prospects and circumstances, that you might struggle to discharge the 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 210 

obligation, to inconvenience yourself and make yourself unhappy. I never did, 
nor never shall, make Calculations. Take the Bond and do with [it] as you 
please. 

I hope you will communicate to me when you hear from your absent children, 
for I assure you my solicitude is great [for] the welfare of yourself and Family. I 
have felt no little uneasiness about your son in Mexico,^ and it would give me 
great pleasure to hear of his safe return to the bosom of his Family and 
Friend [s]. 

With a heart overflowing with the warmest Brotherly feelings toward you, I 
subscribe myself once more, your Brother, 

E Fletcher 

Your last Letter enclosed me a check for one half years dividends on my 
Indianapolis Bank Stock. 

E.F. 

■^Calvin's diary on June 26, 1847, states that his son Elijah reached New Orleans from Mexico earlier 
that month. 



Sweetbrier Plantation 
Sunday the 24th Oct. 1 847 
Dear Brother, 

I was much gratified as well as amused at your last Letter, which reassured me 
of your continued kind remembrance of our departed Parents and your devotion 
to the honor and interests of our Family. These are traits I have always much 
admired in you, and in most of your correspondence I remember and trace these 
feelings as always predominating. But our Father, of modest, humble demeanor, 
was a sterling man, an honest man of the purest intentions, gifted with a strong 
mind and sound practical Judgment. I have many times told Sidney that he was, 
without much enlightenment from Books, as good a Farmer as exists at the 
present day. He practiced what the learned and scientific now preach, observing 
the best rotation of crops and the best use of manures and, as you remember, his 
remarks about Railroads is another evidence of his sound views of future events. 
I am much pleased with your proposition of Searching a little into the antiquities 
of our Family, and you yourself would be the right person to do it. When you 
visit, as you propose to do, The Old Farm, spend a few days in Westford or 
Chelmsford for that purpose. But I am too modest to even desire to be the subject 
of distinction from such research. The most humble, noiseless retirement best 
suits my inclination. Necessity in earlier times has compelled me to mingle a little 
with the busy world but so soon as I could, I have withdrawn myself from the 
public turmoil of the times. 

The retired society of my daughters is very interesting to me. They are 



PART II: 1830-1858 211 

samples of Prudence, are perfectly contented and study to make me happy. They 
were delighted with their northern Trip, particularly with Vermont and the Old 
Farm. They care but little about the foolish gaiety of the world, rarely attend a 
public assembly, devoted to reading, writing, and their music [and] 
Housekeeping. They brought home some beautiful yarn from the Old Farm and 
have been knitting gloves, etc. I dwell upon this more because it was predicted 
that after seeing and travelling so much they would not be content with the 
monotonous retirement of this countr)', and it is quite gratifying to find that their 
taste in these matters is very congenial with mine. 

Jan. 15, 1848 

You will perceive how negligent I have been in sending my Letter. I recvd 
yours dated Nov. 20/47, enclosing a check for the amount of my Dividends on 
Indianapolis Bank Stock which had just been declared, and return you many 
Thanks for your promptness in attending to this matter for me. I have missed 
your interesting Letters from Cincinnati this winter. I [was] much instructed, as 
well as amused, with those you sent me from that point last winter. We here had 
a mild and pleasant Fall and quite an open, though somewhat wet, winter. Pork 
has sold at about $6. Wheat has generally been worth in Lynchburg one dollar. 
Corn $2.25 the Barrel and will not be higher unless there is an export demand. 
Fine crops were made of every kind of grain. But very little Tobacco was aimed 
at. 

Timothy returned from The North in very good health. In fact he looks as 
well as I have seen him for many years. He will no doubt return to The North 
next summer, where he enjoys himself more than anywhere else. You have 
frequently held out promises that some of your Sons would pay me a visit and it 
would afford me much pleasure to see them. I have never yet seen any of your 
Family. 

Maria and the two Girls are to day at Tusculum Plantation, where Sidney has 
located, and I am left here alone. They will however return tomorrow or next 
day. They spend but little of their time in Lynchburg, though we keep up the 
Establishment there so they can be there when they please. But the girls much 
prefer the Country to the town. 

Give my best respects to your Family, particularly to Michael, as likewise to 
Stoughton & Richeson, and believe me as ever your Sincere Friend & Brother, 

E Fletcher 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 212 

Sweetbrier Plantation 
April 10, '48 
Dear Brother, 

You will hardly guess what I am amusing myself about to day and perhaps 
will think me foolish when I tell you that my employment is the superintendence 
of Setting out Trees of various kinds, when from my age there can be little 
chance of seeing their growth to maturity or enjoying their fruits. But these are 
considerations that hardly ever enter my mind, or at least never deter me from 
keeping on in a course of improvement, and as Mr Gerrard said, "Plant a Tree to 
day if I knew death would await me to morrow.'" Among other Trees just 
received from a Long Island, N.Y., nursery, I have lOO English Walnut of 
small size. About 10 years ago I planted some which are now bearing. They are a 
hardy and pretty Tree and will be profitable when they come to bear. I should 
think they would peculiarly suit your rich lands. These cost $15 the hundred. I 
have freequently planted the nuts bought out of the Confectionery Stores, but 
from age or some other cause, [they] do not vegetate very surely, though I have 
some raising that way as well as some grafted on the Black Walnut. I have a 
large nursery of Fruit Trees and continue every season to graft and innoculate, 
having Servants that perform these operations very nicely. Our good Father, 
when he moved to the wilds of Vermont, had and exercised less forethought and 
circumspection about these things than was gen'l for him in most affairs. He 
neglected to plant an orchard, thinking he would never live to see the fruits; and 
when I was a small Boy, a hard sour apple was a great Treat, and we used in the 
fall to send to the lower end of Cavendish to buy a Bag full of Apples, and when 
our Mother would make a visit — once perhaps in ten years — on horseback to 
Westf ord ( I think Michael once went with her) as a great rarity she would bring 
back two or three quinces. It was not till Michael was grown and much at his 
instance that they began to plant Apple Trees or prepare for an Orchard. 

I received in due time your Letter announcing the Sad tidings of our Brother 
Jesse.^ I feel under great obligations to you and Stoughton for the attention and 
aid showed to him of late. He possessed many good qualities and a natural tender 
benevolent heart, but from early parental indulgence^for from some cause he 
always seemed to be the pet child of his Father — and from early imprudent 
association, he was always in Trouble and seemed doomed to misfortune. It is a 
great regret to me that I could not have seen him in better days and had done 
something to alleviate his unpleasant situation. 

I am much pleased with the project of Michaels plan of visiting Vermont this 
season, and more so that he proposes to pay me a visit. Nothing would so much 
delight me as to see him here. Timothy thinks of leaving for the North by the 
middle of May. Michael could not perhaps reach here by that time, and if he 
could, I should wish him to spend at least a month with me. I will pay his 
expenses cheerfully from here to Vermont if he will come this way. Perhaps 



PART II: 1830-1858 213 

about the 20th of May [I? ] may take a Trip to Fayette County, about 50 miles 
beyond the White Sulpher Springs, and if that time would suit him [to] meet 
me there, we will bring him on here from that place. Inda and Bettie will 
accompany me in their carriage and he could ride in that while I shall be on horse 
back. It will take 10 days in the way we shall go to reach Fayette. I have a Tract 
of Land there which I have never seen, as well as one in Monroe County near the 
Sweet Springs,^ which I will take in on our way home. The girls are delighted 
with the prospect of such a Trip, and particularly with the idea of meeting with 
their Uncle. I must tell you that they are much devoted to their Fathers side of 
the Family. They are all Fletcher. They [are."" ] charmed with the Old Farm in 
Vermont, as well as all our Family, and they possess not a particle of the foolish 
southern prejudice against Northern people and Northern habits. 

Inda asks me to permit her to enclose in this a small tribute of respect to you, 
which I laughingly told [her.' ] would cost you more in Postage than you would 
esteem it worth. 

About Michaels movements, write immediately that I may make some definite 
calculations about his coming on. 

We have had a pleasant Spring, our corn planted [torn] and wheat looks 
promising. Are now commencing to drive our Stock to the Mountain Pasture 
where the grass begins to put out, though the trees will not be in full verdure 
sooner than they will be in Mount Holly.* I am Setting out fine orchards of fine 
fruit Trees on my different Farms there, a great many of the N. York Pippin. 
The climate and soil are peculiarly suited to Orchards. The Fruit will mature 
later so as to enable us to preserve it during winter. Down here it matures [too 
early? ] in the Fall. Many Pennsylvania & New York Farmers are mer [ely 
using.'' ] land about the mountains for Sheep Farms and some have purchased 
[and? ] settled upon them. No doubt it is as good a grass and grazing [coun? ]try 
as any if care be taken to Seed it in grass. I wish you had leisure to visit me once 
more and see how I am getting along. 

With [love?] and respects to all, I once more subscribe myself Your 
Brother, 

E Fletcher 

^Stephen GIrard (1750— 1831), the Philadelphia merchant, financier, and philanthropist, took up agricul- 
ture late in life and found it a source of great satisfaction. One of his widely quoted maxims was "If I 
thought I was going to die tomorrow, I should plant a tree nevertheless today" {D.A.B., VII, 321). 

^ Jesse Fletcher, Jr., died Mar. 6, 1848. ^ Sweet Springs, seventeen miles southeast of White Sulphur, 
now West Virginia, was a large and fashionable spa at the time (J. J. Moorman, Virginia Springs [Rich- 
mond, 1854], p. 166). * A Vermont village, ten miles east of Ludlow. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 214 

To Calvin Fletcher from Indiana Fletcher 

Lynchburg 
April 8th, 1848 
Dear Uncle, 

Although I have not the pleasure of a personal acquaintance, yet having heard 
my Papa mention you so frequently as his favorite brother, I have taken the 
liberty of addressing you a few lines, and of enclosing a Purse I have just 
completed, which trifle I beg of you to accept, as a slight token of my high 
regards. It possesses no other merit, but being a french-purse, and being so far 
removed from all that is Parisienne-like. I regret that I cannot make it more 
worthy of acceptance. 

I may have seen you in my extreme youth, but it has been so long since, I have 
no recollection of it whatever. Since my return from Europe, I have made the 
acquaintance with many of our connexions at the North. And I hope in my future 
travels, I may be happy enough, to pass a few days in Indiana, to renew my 
acquaintance with yourself, and have an introduction to Aunt, and my numerous 
cousins. Yet I should be still more pleased, to see them at my own Home, in 
Virginia. Hoping that my wish may be realised, and my kindest regards to 
yourself, and Family, I remain, 

Very Truly Yours, 
Indiana Fletcher 



Sweetbrier Plantation 
Sunday, June 18, 1848 

I must write you a few lines to acknowledge the safe Reception of your Letter 
of the 1 7th ult. enclosing a check for $237.50 for my Dividends on stock of the 
Indianapolis Branch Bank of Indiana for the last six months. 

Tim left about three weeks ago intending to proceed without any stop to 
Ludlow. Michael will find a welcome and pleasant home there this summer and 
it will give me great pleasure to see him on his return homeward next Fall. 

I received a few days ago a Circular with a genealogical Table of our Family 
from Ed. H. Fletcher of N York.' I presume you may have received a similar 
one. I was well pleased with it and if he have the industry and ability to make a 
proper research into the matter, shall be pleased to patronize him. I took the 
liberty in my Reply to tell him you were quite curious and interested in this affair 
and no doubt could give him efficient aid. From the Table he seems to be a son 
of Dr Alpheus" and Tim says his Sister married a gentleman in some book 
concern in N York. 

We have had a pleasant but rather cool Spring — well suited, however, to most 
every growing crop. Our Wheat is now ripe for the Harvest. For a few days past, 
have been cutting in spots. Tomorrow shall begin in good earnest. It is a much 



PART II: IS30-1858 215 

better crop than usual in this County. No complaint of Fly and has ripened 
without the least rust. 

July 21, 1848 

After writing the above I laid it b)', and though frequently thinking of you, 
your kind and interesting let [ter] from Sandusky called to mind my neglect. I 
occasionally hear from Tim. He seems to enjoy himself greatly at the Old Farm, 
sees new charms in the scenery and in every [thing? ] about. Says they have 
gotten the Rail Road finished to Keene and it will be completed to Bellows Falls 
in November. They are at work on it in sections all the way to Burlington and 
[will] complete it next year. They will not work through the Old Farm till next 
spring. When they get that completed, if we live, I think you and I must meet 
there. 

Tim says they had a cold spring but every thing lively and prosperous, except 
the manufacteries of wool. The one at Duttonsville had stopped. Michael is no 
doubt there before this time and I take great interest in his visiting me. It will be 
one of the happiest days of my life to meet with him here. You must never take 
any notice of my tardiness in writing, and write me as often as )'ou find leisure. 
Your Letters are alwa}-s welcome and interesting. 

Do you raise your Beef Cattle or do you buy them, and where are they raised.? 
Where is your market for them when fattened? 

With kindest remembrance to Stoughton, Richeson and your family, I will 
close this short Letter. 

E Fletcher 

^ In 1848 Edward Hatch Fletcher published a chart containing 780 names of descendants of Robert 
Fletcher, who emigrated from England in 16^0. This elicited further response from Fletchers, and in 1871 
a 280-page volume was published. It was followed by a greatly expanded edition, Fletcher Family History: 
The Descendants of Robert Fletcher of Concord^ Alass. [Boston, 1881]. The author's introduction also 
mentions Cahin Fletcher as among those who aided in supplying information for the genealogy. ' Al- 

pheus Fletcher (1793-1849) lived and practiced medicine in his native town, Cavendish, Vt. After his 
death, his widow moved to New York {Ihid., p. 315). 

Plantation, Amherst Co, Va. 
Nov. 4, 1848 
Dear Brother, 

Your second welcome unanswered letter came to hand a few days ago. The one 
previous to the last gave me much pleasure on account of the information it 
contained in relation to your Stock Trade and Farming operations. 

I have spent the summer much as usual, staying at home where I have been so 
long that I begin to think it is my place of destination. Some part of the season I 
have been a little complaining, but not sick. By putting off flannel rather early 
gave me a bad cold. My remedy was lying by and rather indulging myself. My 
constitution is yet vigorous enough, with proper regimen, to rectif)' any little 
ailment. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 216 

Tim has just returned from the north, looking very well. He says he 
sometimes thinks he will make Ludlow his permanent Residence. He enjoyed 
himself highly while Michael remained with him. I think sometimes of visiting 
once more the old Farm next summer. 

Will you spend any time this Fall in Cincinnati? And if so, at what time will 
you be there? Inda & Bettie intend a Winter Trip in some direction. Sometimes 
they think of the West, then to N. Orleans, pass over to Cuba and back in the 
Spring by the way of Charleston. I would much like for them to make the 
acquaintance of their Relations in Indiana. Either Tim or Sidney will accompany 
them. 

Our years Crops have turned out well. I have rarely known a more propitious 
season. Wheat is selling from 85c. to 90, in Richmond $1.05 to $1.10, though 
only one hundred & twenty miles distant and a good Canal. Corn is worth from 
$1.50 to $2 per Barrel, Beef in Richmond from $5 to $6. Pork is expected to sell 
at about $4 here ; old Bacon in Lynchburg is worth $6.50. Much of the Pork was 
put up here last year at about the price Bacon is now selling. 

Some of the Pennsylvania Wool growers are settling in our Mountains near 
here to raise Sheep. Sidney has some idea of purchasing a Flock as an addition to 
his other Farming operations. Our Mountains are probably well suited for this 
business. Particularly where one is situated to bring them down in the winter on 
our Meadows and low lands. Sidney is a very industrious managing Fellow. 
Lucian is not of very much account and probably never will be. 

Capt Penns Family have all sold out and moved away. The old gentleman is 
now, and has been for the past summer, in Louisville. Very few of my wifes 
Family, which were so numerous, wealthy, and influential, when I first came to 
this Country, are now remaining here. 

I much regretted that Michael had not taken Virginia in his route on the 
homeward route. Nothing would have pleased me more than to have seen him. 
Remember me affectionately to him as well as to all our Relations. Write me in 
reply to this soon and if you visit Cincinnati, let me hear from you there. You are 
fond of writing and always communicate some useful information to me. 

Day after tomorrow is the great Presidential Contest.^ There is not as much 
enthusiasm among our people here as I have seen on former like occasions. But 
there will be a general turnout of both Parties. I feel for the welfare of our 
common country a lively interest in the Result but take no active part in the 
canvass. 

With renewed assurance of my warmest Friendship and Esteem, I will once 
more bid you adieu! 

E Fletcher 

^ Zachary Taylor (i 784-1 850) was elected on the Whig ticket, defeating the Democrat, Martin Van 
Buren (1782-1862). 



PART II: 1830-1858 217 

Sweetbrier Plantation 
June I, 1849 
Dear Brother, 

Yours of 22nd ult. enclosing a check for $251.23 for Dividend on my Indiana 
Bank Stock for the last six months has just been received. One from you a few 
weeks ago which afforded great pleasure was likewise recvd in due time. 

I am now all alone again. Sidney and Lucian have gone to Caliafornia and 
Inda and Betty started last Sunday with their uncle Tim for the North. Sidney 
always seemed anxious to travel and explore the Western part of our Continent 
and the excitement in Caliafornia hastened the undertaking. He left here early in 
March, took the steamer at Charleston, S. Carolina, reached Panama early in 
April where he was detained till the 22nd when he started for San Francisco and 
with good luck is there before this. If great inducements are offered he may 
remain there sometime, perhaps in the practice of his profession or any other 
employment of more profit, and will return through the western states and no 
doubt call upon you on his way home. 

Lucian has gone as a real gold Hunter, joining a Company in Richmond who 
bought a fine Vessel and freighted her, starting from The Capes of Virginia ist 
of April. I received a letter from him yesterday off Cape Verde Isles, some 3,000 
miles on his way, having all the Company of 75 good health. I regretted 
somewhat Sidneys departure, for he was a man of business and much assistance to 
me. But like you, I let them when arriving at years of discretion carve out their 
own destiny. I miss very much too the Society of my Daughters. They are very 
affectionate, quite intelligent, and offered me much society. They however will 
be absent but for a few months. They will visit Saratoga, The White Mountains 
in N.H. and Boston, Providence & New Port. While in Providence they will call 
upon your Children.' It gratifies me much to think you are giving your Children 
such a fine chance for Literary Improvement. My Daughters have often told me 
that they value their opportunities far above any wealth I could bestow upon 
them. I am much pleased to hear that your oldest son has so good a chance to 
travel." He must have had a delightful Trip to, and sojourn in Switzerland. I 
had the pleasure a few days ago to receive a very interesting note from him by 
one of his Classmates, Mr Smith from Princeton. I intended this week to have 
written him at that place. Mr Smith only handed me the Letter last Friday, 
together with two genealogical charts from Ed. H. F. Can not Cooly make me a 
visit before leaving America?^ It seems strange that I should never have had the 
opportunity of seeing any of your Children, though you have many times 
promised me a visit from some of them. 

I have now fine health and my business in such a trim as to give me little 
trouble. Still activity and exercise are my delight. I do not feel as well to remain 
idle in the house all day as when I ride about and take a good deal of exercise. I 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 218 

rise by break of day and retire to rest between 8 and 9. 1 am fond of reading, but 
not long at a time — rarely more than an hour when I am up and off, perhaps 
reflecting upon what I have read. 

I was much pleased with your description of stock feeding. I hardly see how 
you can feed and take care of so many. Our Country has remained stationary in 
prosperity for many years past. A new impetus will soon be given to things from 
the attention now being given to Internal Improvements. There is very little 
Emigration from this Country but many coming in from Pensylvania and the 
valley of Virginia [Shenandoah] . Our Lands are naturally good and much lower 
than most any where else of equal quality. Some are commencing the sheep 
husbandry upon a pretty large scale, and find they do well. The Wheat in this 
State is good. We have had few falls and Winters or Springs better for it and it 
will be ready for Harvest by the 20th of this month. They are plowing and hoe- 
ing the corn the 2nd time. It is however later than common owing to the long 
wet spell in March, then too dry and cold for it to come up and grow. 

You must not be ceremonious about my punctuality in answering your Letters. 
I always delight to hear from you, but I am rather lazy and procrastinating in 
writing and answering Letters. I am pleased to hear that Lauras children are 
with you.'' I wish they could make me a visit. Nothing makes me more happy 
than to be visited by my Kin, and tell Cooly if he can possibly make it convenient, 
to call and see me on his way. 

Give my best respects to all and believe me as ever your Brother and sincere 
Friend, 

E Fletcher 

■^ Two, or possibly three, of Calvin's sons were then attending Brown. "After receiving his A.B. at 

Brown In 1846, James Cooley Fletcher studied two years at Princeton Theological Seminary. In 1849 he 
went to Europe, where he continued his theological education in Paris and then In Geneva (Nowland, op. 
cit., p. 494). ^ Late in 1851, after several months' sojourn in the United States, he went to Brazil as a 

missionary {Ihid.). ** Laura Fletcher Button died in 1844 at Newaric, N.Y.; her husband apparently died 

a few years later, and their three children, Charlotte, Fanny, and Calvin, moved to Indianapolis. In Mar. 
1849, Calvin Button wrote to his uncle Calvin, telling of his troubles — as neither of his parents was living 
(Calvin Fletcher Letters, II, 365). 



Sweetbrier Plantation 
Aug. 18, 1849 
Dear Brother, 

I have not yet answered your last Letter. It so much pleased me I thought I 
would have done it as soon as it came to hand but I have continued to put it off 
till this morning. I have written and continue to write a great deal, still I never 
was fond of writing. When I assisted in conducting a Newspaper, writing was the 
last thing to do. I would put off and put off that task to the last. You are rather 
more fond of writing and had it been your vocation, would have made a good 
writer. All you write me about your Farming and stock raising interests me 



PART II: 1830-1858 219 

much. My zeal in this employment never cools. It is a most gratifying 
employment to me at which I nev^er tire. 

I receive weekly long letters from my Daughters. The last that came 
yesterday announced the arrival at the old Farm of your son from Providence. 
They seemed highly pleased with him. They seem much pleased with their trip 
too, and the youngest in her last says that the old Mansion seems more like home 
than their residence in Virginia. They now daily hear the whistle and noise of the 
Rail Road Cars passing through the old Farm, and they daily clamber over the 
hedges and take their Baskets and wander over the hills for various kind of 
Berries. I regret your Daughter did not accompany your son to Vermont to spend 
her vacation.^ 

I have sometimes thought to ask you what a dozen first-rate two-year-old 
Mules would be bought for in Indiana, or a year old last spring — Heavy bodied, 
that would, with good treatment, make splendid teams. I have twenty or thirty 
of my own raising, some as fine as can be reared any where, but I find it somewhat 
difficult to breed from a Jack. Do any of your Drovers of Mules or horses come 
this way, or do they all go South } I suppose the Caliaf ornians took all you had to 
spare last spring. 

We heard from Lucian at Rio de Janeiro the ist of July. With good luck he 
will soon from this time be in San Francisco. From Sidney we have not heard 
since he left Panama ist of April. We are now daily expecting a Letter from him. 
I miss Sidney very much. He was so disposed to be a man of business, really 
practical in every thing he undertook, with a good constitution and untiring zeal. 
I had thought he would have shouldered many of my cares and troubles, still I 
have great vigor of body and good health and manage alone to get along 
tolerably well. The great difficulty in extended concerns is to procure good 
agents. Our white men are so lazy and heedless and good for nothing there is no 
reliance upon them. I have more dependence in my Servants than in most any 
White man I procure. They become intelligent in their work and never tire at 
their work. No count [r .? ] y supply better workmen. The Contractors in our 
public works dismiss all foreigners and employ hired slave labor except in some 
nice Mechanical work. They are now making the Canal along up the River that 
you had so much difficulty to get along when you last visited me." I hire a good 
many hands to the Contractors on that work, who are mostly northern men, 
from N. York, New Hampshire etc. They give me for common Laborers $i lO, 
for Blacksmiths $200, for Carpenters $150, feed, clothe, pay taxes, and loose 
their time in sickness or desertion, and the Contractors find it the most cheap and 
efficient labor at these prices. I have so many youngsters growing up to take the 
place of the older ones that I can spare them without interrupting the usual 
course of plantation work. I make it a sort of punishment too to those who do not 
please me at home. Their labor is harder than plantation work, but they are well 
fed and clothed. Our Great Western Rail Road from Lynchburg to Tennessee 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 220 

just now beginning will require a great deal of labor and make prices high.^ 

You must write me every opportunity, for it ever gives me pleasure to hear 
from you. With respects to all, I will again subscribe myself 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher. 

■^Calvin's older daughter was Maria Antoinette Crawford. ^ In 1847 construction was begun on the 

second section of the canal, the portion from Lynchburg to Buchanan which included the passage along the 
James River gorge through the Blue Ridge. Progress was slow, chiefly because of inadequate funds, but the 
canal reached Buchanan in 1851. At this time, the North River Navigation Company was formed to extend 
the canal to Lexington (Capron, op. ci(., p. 10). (See Appendix IX for Calvin's account of his journey in 
1842.) ^ The railroad foreshadowed the end of the canal's usefulness, although three decades passed 

before the canal was entirely superseded {Ibid.^ p. 12). 



Sweetbrier Plantation 
Sunday, Oct. 21,1 849 
Dear Brother, 

I ought before this to have answered your last friendly and interesting Letter, 
particularly as I had set you on the business of Mule-hunting for me. And in 
respect to that subject I will just say that I would like to get a lot, were there any 
way to obtain them and get them here conveniently. The number you mention 
the gentleman had — 18 — would be no objection and the price, if they were really 
first rate, of large, heavy bone and Form that would make, with good care, no i 
Mules, would not be unreasonable. I do not admire the tall, long legged, slim 
bodies, but with good height and heavy bodies. Perhaps the simplest way to get 
them here would be to hire a trusty man and drive them direct. But I fear it 
would be too late to perform that operation this fall, and it is not a matter of 
moment with me, and I only threw out the suggestion. If anything of the kind 
could be done without too much trouble one of these days, it would be acceptable. 
But I would not wish you to turn out of the way much for this object. 

I am here yet alone, am expecting the girls in a day or two. They were in 
N York when last heard from. They spent, on their return from Vermont, a few 
days with Miles. While there the great Phrenologist, [Fowler.? ], was lecturing 
at Marlborough and they had the curiosity to have their heads examined.^ Inda 
says, as soon as she was seated and he ran his hand over her head he remarked she 
was all "Father," a character that most of her acquaintances give her. 

From Sidney & Lucian I hear no satisfactory accounts. From Lucian I did not 
expect to hear much before this time but from Sidney I have now waited a long 
time impatiently for tidings. 

From Aug. up to ist October our season has been uniformly dry, giving the 
people a poor opportunity to fallow and prepare their ground for Wheat, which 
is now the only hope of making a crop. Few depend much on sowing corn land. 
Since October there has been too much rain for seeding and will make what is 
sown late in being put in. The dry weather has much shortened the early 



PART II: 1830-1858 221 

promising crop of corn. The Valley of Virginia, all through Maryland, 
Pennsylvania and, the girls write me, even to Marlborough N. York, the 
drought has been most severe. The immense herds of [ ? ] cattle annually drove 
from Tennessee and the south for the Virginia and Maryland & Pennsylvania 
graziers found a less market than usual and many drovers turned back. There 
was much speculation in this business this year and many dealers from the above 
states went South early to buy up cattle. They generally sell their two and three 
year old cattle at from $ 1 2 to $ 1 8 . About $ 1 5 on an average they charged at first 
this fall. I have never dealt any in these cattle yet, generally raising what I 
fatten. I have nearly a hundred cows. I mention these things that you may see 
how the cattle business is conducted in these parts. Along under these mountains 
in a few years, grazing and stock raising will be an object of importance. In 
Albemarle and many of the counties under the ridge, fattening cattle has already 
taken the place of Tobacco raising. A gentleman has just arrived to settle here 
with a thousand Saxony sheep from Gennessee N. Y. This you will say is small 
business compared to your countrj', but even this small beginning may lead to 
more important consequences. We want some new system to revive a naturally 
fertile and desirable country. 

My Daughters did not visit Providence as I expected and had not the pleasure 
of meeting with your Daughter. You must write me when you hear from your 
son abroad. It will give me pleasure to learn something of his wanderings. I fear 
I shall never have the pleasure of seeing any of your children. You have so long 
failed to perform the promise of letting one of your sons visit me. It would give 
me great pleasure to see one [of] them. I am glad however to learn that some of 
them are useful to you, as I hope all will be, and useful to themselves and to their 
generation. With respects to all, Farewell! 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

This might have been one of the Fowler brothers, Orson and Lorenzo, prominent phrenologists who en- 
joyed great popularity from about 1835 to 1870. They went on speaking tours together, wrote books, and 
published the American P/irenological Journal {D.A.B,, VI, 565—66). 



Sweetbrier Plantation 
Nov. 4, 1849 
Dear Brother, 

Though it be but a few days since I wrote you, having since received one from 
you and being cheered a little with hearing of Sidneys safe arrival in California, I 
felt like writing you a few lines this warm and pleasant Sabbath day, as I am 
quite alone, the girls, who arrived here the 24th ult, being in Lynchburg with 
their Mother. 

Sidney, after a long passage of 89 days from Panama, reached Monterey and 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 222 

proceeded to the Diggins on the Stanislaus River about the ist of Aug. He had 
been there so short a time the information he communicated was quite limited. 
He seemed pleased with his prospects — plenty of gold — but hard work to get it 
by digging. Was in fine spirits, had had perfect health, though the last twenty 
days of his voyage he was on "short allowance of Bread and Water." 

You speak of a gentleman who will deliver Mules here at $75. That perhaps 
would be the best plan and if twelve real first rate ones could be delivered to me 
next spring or summer, past two years old next spring, it would suit well. This is 
becoming a good Market for Mules. Several drovers have been here the present 
year from Kentucky and the general price was $ 1 00 for those of a size to break. 
Horses likewise now command a fine price here. If the gentleman you speak of is 
a smart Trader, he would no doubt do well here with a Drove of Mules and 
horses. You might perhaps so arrange it, if he undertook the Job, to select mine 
before he started out of his drove and have them marked. But after all it is not 
an object of such consequence as to have you put yourself out of the way in the 
least about the matter. 

I have been much interested since the girls' return to hear the relation of little 
incidents which called vividly to mind the scenes of our early days. I regret to 
hear from them that, though their uncle Tim adores the old Farm, and about the 
house and furniture is disposed to improve, has no turn to improve the Land, 
outbuildings and Fences. The land is so [reduced? ] and unproductive in grass 
and grain and the Fences so out of repair that the present tenant was unwilling to 
remain longer without improvement, and a great reduction of the stock is to take 
place, to keep but three or four cows. I would very much liked to have had the 
fertility of the old Farm kept up and it would no doubt have paid well for any 
improvement given it. 

You must be very busy to superintend the management and feeding of so 
extensive a stock. You have great advantage over us here, as our corn fed to 
fattening animals is worth JOct, while with you only 123^ cents. Still, stock 
raising is as good a business as the Farmer can pursue here. 

Our Fall still continues warm and fine, have just done seeding wheat. The 
frequent rains since the commencement of seeding has prevented working at it 
more than three days in the week, or we would have been done much earlier. 

Farewell ! 
E Fletcher 



PART II: 1830-1858 223 

Sweetbrier Plantation 
Jan. 21, 1850 
Dear Brother, 

Your frequent expressions of much interest in Sidneys & Lucians fate induces 
me to write you a few lines to inform you that Sidney arrived home some three 
weeks ago, having left California the 1 5th November. On his first landing at 
Montery, early in August, he immediately departed for the mines and remained 
at the various diggings until ist Nov. when he left for San Francisco, some two 
hundred miles distant from his last location at the mines. He has, since leaving 
home, endured much hardship, seen much of the world and returned better 
contented, perhaps, with a comfortable home. His success in a pecuniar}' point 
was good, as the common run. He does not estimate the average gains of the 
diggers to exceed $5 the da)-, that most of the surface diggins have been explored, 
that there is plenty of gold which will hereafter be obtained, when labor becomes 
cheaper and more s\stematic arrangements made for mining. He says it can 
never be a desirable Agricultural country, owing principally for the want of rain 
from March till November. During that period vegetation is entirely burnt up 
except on the immediate streams of water. The Cattle, during the dr)- season, 
subsist on the wild oats which grew in the winter and spring and in their ripe and 
dead state [afford? ] a fattening food for Stock, as the wild oat is similar or the 
same as that we cultivate. 

Sidney left Lucian in San Francisco, who intended remaining till spring and 
then try the Mines. Sidney has had uninterrupted good health but the hardships 
he has undergone make him look much wasted. 

We have had a wet and cool winter thus far, several Snows and much rain, 
have had freezing weather enough to get ice but no very cold weather. My 
health is good and riding and being out in the cold does not inconvenience me 
more than it did twent\' }'ears ago. Still I do not expose mjself much. 

As I write you this rather to inform you of the safety of my sons and the 
gratifying intelligence of Sidneys return home, I will add no more but with kind 
remembrance to all, bid you once more an affectionate Adieu! 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 



Sweetbrier Plantation 
June 3, 1850 
Dear Brother, 

Yours of the 20th ult. covering a check for $252.48 amount of dividends on 
my Indiana Bank stock for the last six month has been received, and it afforded 
me pleasure to learn that all of you except Stoughton were well. Does Stoughton 
contemplate travelling this summer? If so, can }'ou not so arrange it that he go 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 224 

East with you and meet me at the Old Mansion in Ludlow last of July? I think 
of starting North about the 1 5th of July and in six or seven days be in New Ark 
on a visit to our relations there and then cross to Vermont and spend a short time 
at the Old Mansion. 

Timothy left yesterday morning — Sunday — and by Friday will be at our old 
home. It would give me great pleasure to meet you there and as many of my 
Brothers and relatives as can conveniently meet me there. I shall not be at home 
perhaps more than four or five weeks. I am In better than usual health and feel as 
though I could well undergo the fatigue of travelling. My Daughters will 
probably accompany me. Timothy has not enjoyed good health the past winter, 
has been much pestered with Rheumatism. He says he has laid in a good stock of 
provisions for us all and no doubt he will entertain in great sumptuousness. This 
will gratify him. He takes great pride and pleasure in showing his generosity 
toward his relations and wishes me to write to you to be with him at the Old 
Mansion if possible this summer. 

Our latter winter and spring has been similar to the one you have experienced, 
cold and wet, and the weather even continues of that kind now. We have had 
scarcely a real warm day. It has made the wheat, oats and grass green, but been 
hard for working the ground for corn, and people have been late planting. We 
have finished weeding corn and it looks well for so cold a spring. Clover and 
grass is very luxuriant and is now getting ready to cut — that is the orchard grass 
which comes to maturity about the same time of [ ? ] . 

Sidney is devoting himself to Farming with great zeal at Tusculum, which 
place with the servants and all the appertainments I have given him.^ Farming is 
the only vocation in life that pleases him or which nature seemed to adapt his 
taste. Of Lucian we have no tidings since Sidney left him in Caliafornia. We wait 
with much impatience to hear from him. 

I should like to hear from you soon to know if I may contemplate the pleasure 
of meeting you this summer. I write this in haste and must bid you Farewell, 
with respects to all. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^ A deed of gift dated Feb. 20, i8;o, states "that in consideration of the love and affection the said Elijah 
Fletcher bears to his son Sidney Fletcher . . . Elijah Fletcher doth give and grant unto the said Sidney the 
Tusculum plantation conveyed ... by the heirs of Wm. S. Crawford . . . also the tract conveyed to him 
by Robert Higginbotham, also the tract conveyed to him by James Keith, also the tract conveyed to him by 
William T. Higginbotham, likewise the tract conveyed to him by the heirs of Paul Cabell deed, and a small 
tract conveyed to him by James Garland, all these several tracts lying in Amherst County in the vicinity of 
New Glasgow" (Amherst County Deed Book, vol. BB, 70). 



PART II: 1830-1858 225 

Sweetbrier Plantation 
Aug. 20, 1850 
Dear Brother, 

I have very much missed your usual correspondence this summer and have 
many times wondered to myself what had become of you. But day before 
yesterday I learnt that you were in the land of the living by the short letter of 
introduction forwarded from Richmond by Mr Guysor. He wrote that he had 
arrived there without Friends and without money, that his money had been 
stolen from him between Cincinnati and Baltimore. I replied to his Letter 
yesterday, enclosing $20 and inviting him to come on here. There is some 
prospect of getting a school for him in Lynchburg. 

I had expected you would have replied to my Letter about meeting at the Old 
Mansion in Vermont. Not hearing from you, I have myself declined the Trip 
this season. Timothy is there and writes us often. Lucy & Fanny had been there 
and he had hoped you and I and Miles would have been there and is much 
disappointed and lonesome. We must hereafter tr)' to make an arrangement for 
us all to meet there if our lives and health are spared. I felt much inclined to go 
this summer, though I have been so long at home it always seems inconvenient to 
leave. 

After a long and cold spring, we have had a warm Summer. The wheat 
harvest in this state, with a fine and abundant prospect, was much affected by 
Rust, in the lower part of the state almost ruined and generally much injured. 
The corn crop looks tolerably well though in many sections dry weather has 
prevailed and will cut the crop short, as well as the Tobacco Crop. We are now 
busily employed Plowing our Clover land for a new crop of Wheat, having the 
last one pretty well up and stored away in Barns, though not yet threshed. 

We received Letters from Lucian in July. He had encountered much 
Hardship and some sickness and spoke of returning in October without affecting 
much to his [advantage? ] . Sidney is devoted to his Farm, the only place where 
he is happy and contented. The girls are with me, would have traveled North 
with me, had I gone. I have the best of health and undergo a good deal of fatigue 
during the day without being much tired at night. 

Dr Rose' and his wife and son have been here this summer. They talked much 
about you. 

I write you this short note, hoping it will bring a long one in return from 
you. 

With all respects to all, I once more subscribe myself yovir 

Brother Elijah 

^ This is undoubtedly Dr. Gustavus A. Rose, formerly of New Glasgow and Lynchburg, who had moved 
to Indiana fifteen years earlier (see letter of Mar. 7, 1836). 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 226 

Sweetbrler Plantation 
Dec. 28, 1850 
Dear Brother, 

Yours enclosing a check for some $260 in full for Dividends on my Indiana 
Bank stock for the last half year was recvd in due time. Soon after receiving, I 
made an excursion to Philadelphia with my Daughters, which has occasioned 
some delay in my reply. 

My Daughters propose to spend some portion of the Winter in Philadelphia. 
They are pleasantly situated there and have opportunities for amusements and 
instruction which this part of the country does not afford. The winters here are 
rather dreary to those who have not constant and full occupation in business. Our 
population is so sparse that there is little or no social or neighborly intercourse. 
My Daughters, however, are very domestic and fond of their home and were 
quite willing to have returned with me had I not persuaded them to remain. I 
have made it an object to make home pleasant and attractive to them, to interest 
them in their Flower gardens and many domestic employments, which leaves 
them no vacant hours and makes time pass agreeably. Interesting and useful 
employment for mind and body is the great Secret in leading a healthy and 
happy life. 

We have had a continued pleasant fall and winter up to this time. The weather 
is quite mild at this time, and although some fine mornings the distant 
Mountains have shown white with snow, there has none fell on the low lands. 
There has not been the usual number of western hogs drove this year into this 
part of the country. The price commenced at $5.50. It is now $6.25. Beef is low, 
perhaps owing to a desire for an early market to prevent feeding long with corn, 
which is [selling?] much higher than usual at this season. It is now selling in 
Lynchburg at $4 The Barrel, and at that price we cannot afford to feed Cattle for 
beef at the present prices. I shall feed few this fall but keep them over, as I have 
plenty of range feed to winter them and good pastures for next summer, and 
most of them are of that age that they will improve by keeping. Our slave labor 
has more than doubled in price within two or three years, owing principally to the 
improvements now carrying on and to the high price of Tobacco. None of the 
Contractors on the public work will employ White Labor if they can procure 
black. They consider our blacks equally efficient, more moral and much easier 
managed than the Foreign Whites. They are now contemplating a Rail Road 
which will pass through this Plantation from Charlottesville to Lynchburg.^ This 
will fill up the link to connect the Alexandria Rail Road to the one now 
constructing from Lynchburg to Tennessee.^ 

I was highly gratified to receive Cooleys note included in your Letter, and 
shall insist on his visiting us if he finds it practicable before leaving the Country 
again. The girls were much pleased to receive his wifes' very neat epistle and 



PART II: 1830-185S 227 

before they left home, Inda wrote a short reply and left for me to enclose when I 
should write. 

I do not see Professor Guysor often. I believe he is doing quite well, but not 
very well suited for this scuffling world. He is a learned and great Scholar but a 
[wild? ] enthusiast. He had visited me once here since he settled in Lynchburg, 
staid two or three days, went to Tusculum to see Sidney, whom he denominates 
"The Philosopher," as he does one of your Sons "The Student of Geneva," 
another "The Farmer." He makes a poor Gallant. Maria and the girls went in a 
Carriage to Tusculum at the time, but he paid little attention to them, wildly 
galloping on and when he came to an open woods would ride in to the midst of it, 
and look about and contemplate the Scenes of nature. He says he would prefer to 
ride without a saddle, bare back, as he was wont to do in Switzerland when a Boy. 
He often visits my Famih' when in Lynchburg and his romantic turn pleases 
Maria very much. She thinks him a wonderful man. 

Timothy is in good health and looks well. We find him a little hard to please 
as he grows in years. He is much attracted to my Daughters but has quite a 
marked sensibility that they do not pay respect enough to him. Their best efforts 
to please him are sometimes wrongly construed. He is very kind to me and I miss 
him much when away. 

With kind remembrance to all, let me once more bid you Farewell ! 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^ In 1853 subscriptions were solicited to extend the Orange & Alexandria (later the Southern Railway) to 
Lynchburg. Not enough were sold, but Blackwater warehouse was bought to serve as the depot In Lynchburg. 
By i860 the railroad, which passes through Sweet Briar, was completed to the north bank of the James at 
Lynchburg (Christian, op. cit., pp. 160, 182). "On Jan. 16, 1850, the first spade was turned In Lynch- 

burg for the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad (Christian, op. cit., p. 147). ^ In Aug. 1850 Cooley mar- 

ried Henrietta Malan, a daughter of the theologian, Dr. Cesar Malan, in Switzerland {D.A.B., VI, 465). 



Sweetbrier 
April 18, 1 85 1 
Dear Brother, 

Your welcome letter, after an unusual intermission in writing, was received by 
due course of mail. I have delayed sometime to reply to it, to make up my 
determination about visiting the place of our nativity the ensuing Summer, and 
you will no doubt be somewhat surprised to learn that I have for one more year 
postponed that trip. Principally because our Brother Timothy had made up his 
mind not to spend any time there next summer. He was a good deal disappointed 
at our not visiting there last summer when he expected us and had made some 
preparation for our reception. He has told me ever since his return that he did 
not intend being in Vermont this year. But I always thought he would, and still 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 228 

think he will, but will not any longer defer making up my mind about the matter 
or keep you in suspense. 

Again I find it quite inconvenient to leave home, as I have commenced 
building and shall have what is not common, several white mechanics employed 
here most of the summer in erecting two Towers to this house — one at each 
end — three stories high, 20 x 20.^ This is a project of my Daughters and as I 
rarely deny to gratify any of their desires, have consented to this. The 
Brickmakers have commenced their work and the carpenters are preparing their 
materials for the wood work. I regret very much postponing the pleasure I 
anticipated of meeting you and Michael and Stoughton and Miles & Fanny and 
Lucy once more in the old mansion where we have spent many happy days, but 
trust a kind providence will preserve us all to meet there another year, about the 
1st of June, at all events. 

Our Spring has been as remarkably pleasant as our winter was mild — a 
circumstance which I rarely have remembered — no frost to injure in the least the 
fruit after blooming. We were somewhat alarmed a few days ago when a N. East 
rain turned to snow and continued snowing fiercely for most half a day, but the 
snow on the flat land soon disappeared. On the Mountains it remained several 
days. It was however too warm for frosts to do injury. We are now planting 
Corn; many of my neighbors are finished. 

Professor Guysor is still in Lynchburg but talks of leaving. He seems to be a 
man of restless and unhappy temperament. His [much?] Learning is not 
calculated to make him happy. I regret he cannot be satisfied to remain the year 
for which he engaged. The Gentleman in whose family he teaches will be sorry 
to loose him, as he is an excellent teacher. He seems not to have determined 
where to go — at times talks of returning to Switzerland. 

We hear nothing directly from Lucian, though ind [irectly ] we hear he is 
doing well. 

Tell Michael that the events of our early boyish days are fresh in my 
recollection and that I frequently call to mind the incidents of those times in 
which he and I were engaged and it would have given me the greatest pleasure to 
have met him at the old homestead and recounted these things perso [nally ] with 
him. 

I feel very grateful to you for your kind [atten-] tion in writing me often. 
Nothing affords me more pleasure than your Letters. 

Give my kind remembrances to him and to Stoughton and Richardson, and my 
respects to your family, and I will in haste once more subscribe myself your 

Brother, 
E Fletcher 

■"^ The square tower wings and the arched portico then added to the facade of the old farm house com- 
pletely changed its appearance; it has since remained easentially the same. 



PART II: 1830-1858 229 



Sweetbrier 
May 30, 1 85 1 
Dear Brother, 

Yours of May 1 9th enclosing a Draft for $302.97/100 in full of Dividends 
on my Indiana Bank Stock has just come to hand. You wish an immediate reply 
which I sit down to give. 

Timothy will leave for Vermont in a few days, somewhat as I expected. But 
having made up my mind not to go there this season, will find it particularly 
inconvenient now to alter my determination. As I wrote in my last that there was 
a process going on of adding two Towers to the Brick Building here and have had 
for almost the first time in my life to employ White Workmen to execute the 
work, and cannot well leave them. I should however have made arrangements to 
have met you there had not Timothy assured me till a very late period that he 
would not visit Vermont this year. Now I do not wish to deter you from going, 
and considering the situation of Stoughtons health, I would wish him to go and 
Michael and you to accompany him. Stoughton ought to spare no pains nor loose 
any opportunity to regain his health. Tim will be at The Old Mansion and glad to 
see you all and very proud to entertain you. Then it might not be very much out 
of your way to return home this way. I will pay one half or all Michaels expenses 
for his whole Trip if he will pass this way. How pleased should I be to see you all 
here. 

Mr Yandes and his wife^ and his sister left here some ten days ago. There 
arrival was earlier than I expected. My Family were all out at this place. Tim 
had to entertain them which he did in the kindest manner. They staid over 
Sunday in Lynchburg and rode out Monday morning with Timothy, remained 
with us till Friday morning. It afforded me great pleasure to see them. I am 
located so out of the way of calls from our relations, it is most gratifying when 
one finds it convenient to call on me. We were all highly delighted with them 
and regretted their stay here could not have been prolonged. It made me happy 
to find Fanny, so interesting and worthy a girl, had found so intelligent and 
gentlemanly a protector. She says she is thought to resemble her Mother." It is 
so long since I saw our lamented Sister I could not say, but did not recognize 
much resemblance. Richardson was so kind as to send us his daguerreotype. I 
found in that a correct likeness. 

Professor Guysor has be [come] more reconciled with his situation and 
concluded to remain yet in Lynchburg. 

We have received Letters from Lucian up to February last. He expressed an 
intention to come home next Fall. 

I write you this more to let you know my determination about the Trip to 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 230 

Ludlow than any thing else, and in haste will conclude it with kind wishes for the 
prosperity of you all. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^ James W. Yandes (1817-85) married Fanny Bliss Button Apr. 29, 1851 (Annabelle, Mary Y., and 
Josephine Robinson, Daniel Yandes and His Family [Crawfordsville, Ind., 1936], p. 37). After her parents 
died, Fanny Button moved to Indianapolis in 1849. She was listed as a member of Stoughton Fletcher's 
household {U.S. Census, Indianapolis, 1850, p. 419). ^ Laura Fletcher Button, who died in 1844. 

Sweetbrier Plantation 
Aug. 20, 1 85 1 
Dear Brother, 

Your kind Letter was received in due course of Mail. You are in the habit of 
giving me too much credit for many events of my life, and though it is gratifying 
to know there is one who thinks favorably of some of my actions, I have not the 
least vanity and only regret that I have not done more good in the world than I 
have. 

Timothy, I suppose, is in Vermont, though he has not written to me or any one 
of my Family since he left. He has his peculiarities which I have always 
humored! He has been kind to me and my children and I feel much attached to 
him. I shall, if all live, go to the old Farm with you next summer as our common 
home, and if all live and have our health, shall take my Daughters with me. 
In July will probably be the most convenient time to leave here. I hope Michael 
will consent to go with you. I have only to regret that we have not had an earlier 
meeting when our Sisters could all have been with us. I am many times and oft 
troubled that I never visited our Sisters when living at Newark and feel as 
anxious as you that we who are permitted to remain among the living should once 
more meet together. If you found it convenient to take some of the members of 
your Family with you, I should be pleased to meet with them there. 

Professor Guysor has left Lynchburg and, perhaps, gone to teach in a private 
Family in Albemarle. He visited me and spent a few days before he left. He is 
a man of peculiar character, little calculated to prosper in this world, of great 
scholastic attainments with some vanity, a little envy, and many eccentricities 
peculiar to Foreigners. For myself I have rarely met with any of these 
wandering Foreigners whose characters or feelings were much [to] be esteemed 
or admired. 

We have had what we call a dry summer that will much curtail the Tobacco 
& Corn crops, but for a few weeks past the weather has been quite seasonable. My 
buildings have not progressed as rapidly as I expected this summer. The Brick 
work is not yet finished but will be in a few days. It will take the balance of the 
year to complete them, I have never done mu:h in the Building way, always 
finding it better to buy a house than to build one. My Daughters remain with me 



PART II: 1830-1858 231 

this summer, wishing to stay and superintend their building in which they take 
much interest and about which I permit them to exercise their own taste. When 
they get it completed they [will] send a scetch of it. From Lucian we hear 
occasionally. He is located at Stockton and practising Law. Some few of our 
Caliafornians have returned lately but none that have gone from this part of the 
country have met with much success. 

You must reply to this as soon as you find time. You know your Letters are 
always peculiarly acceptable. Inda and Bettie like to read Uncle Calvins 
Letters. 

Give my respects to all and believe me, as ever, your Brother, 

E Fletcher 

Our new constitution will, no doubt, be accepted by acclamation.^ It possesses all 
the constituents of pure progressive Democracy, which, you know, suits the 
Times. I now consider myself rather a Looker-on, can live under most any 
Government that others can. 

■^ As a result of the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1851, a new apportionment of seats in the 
House of Delegates, based on the white population, gave the western counties a majority. Suffrage was ex- 
tended to every male white citizen in the elections for governor, judges, county officials, and members of the 
Board of Public Works; and the governor's term was extended to four years (Leon G. Tyler, HistoTy of 
Virginia, II, 482). 



Sweetbrier Plantation 
Nov. 10, 1 851 
Dear Brother, 

I have received two Letters from you since I have written, the last informing 
me that your son was to be present at the great Agricultural Show in New York. 
Sidney, for the pleasure of meeting your son, would like to have been there, but 
he had no other inducement. At my request, a few years past, he visited a Similar 
Fare at Saratoga in New York and felt no great desire to visit another, and he is 
so much attached to his Farm, and thinks his presence so important, that he 
rarely leaves home. It is well to give our sons opportunities to visit such places 
and see what there may be better in the world than they have been used to at 
home. I would like to hear how Calvin was pleased with his Trip and what he 
saw so strange and wonderful as to reward him for so long a journey.^ 

Lucian has returned. He was a long while on his way home, having been 
detained some time in Chagres [Panama] with the prevailing Fever of that 
place, and has been much of his time indisposed since reaching home. 

Timothy has come back from Vermont in good health and spirits, though I 
have been with him but a few moments since his arrival. This week he pays his 
semiannual visit to his old Lady Friend at Fincastle in Bottetourt County. 

Our Fall thus far has been pleasant and agreeably, the dry weather of June and 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 232 

July has made the Corn crop a very light one hereabouts. The Tobacco crop is a 
good one. Few cattle will be fed with corn for market and in the Richmond 
market — though now low from the great number of grass fed cattle — will no 
doubt sell high in the late winter. 

I was pleased to hear that Prof. Guysor had returned to Indianapolis. He 
seemed to have more attachment to that place than any other in America. He was 
a great Favorite of "Old Mrs. Fletcher" — so much so that she gave one of the 
Female Servants a new coat for her child to induce her to name it "Guysor." The 
negro women all claim the privilege of naming their children and are many times 
very choice and fanciful in bestowen names. They are very apt to name them 
after departed and absent relations, particularly the male children. For the 
female children they select long double names and must have an Ann 
attached — "Phillis Ann," "Elizabeth Ann," etc. Among the new born of this 
year there is a Calvin, the first time I ever heard that name given to a colored 
person. 

There has yet been no drove hogs arrived in these parts. The people seem 
quite ignorant of what they will have to give. Old Bacon is scarce and the prices 
are high and have [ruled? ] so all the year. It is now worth in Richmond and 
here $ 1 2 the hundred pounds. I generally kill my plantation meat about the 
middle of this month, about lOO hogs for this plantation, give from this number 
Five or six to Timothy, which serves his small Family." 

Will you spend any time in Cincinnati next winter? My Daughters will 
remain with me this winter, contemplating their northern Trip with me next 
summer. They are getting quite fond of their home, particularly this 
Plantation. They have taken great interest in its improvement and sometimes tell 
me they will soon make it so attractive that they will never wish to leave it. I 
take great pleasure in furthering their views and helping them make their home 
agreeable. 

You must answer this as soon as you can with one of your long and interesting 
Letters. I am always delighted to hear from you. Give my respects to your 
Family and remember me kindly to Michael. I hope we may all live and be able 
to meet each other next summer. Farewell. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^According to his father's diary, Calvin, Jr., was farming: at this time. On Sept. 12, 1851, he left for 
Rochester, N.Y., to visit an agricultural fair; he returned a week later. He had attended Brown for three 
years, 1846—49, and was made an honorary graduate in 1854. This is the only suggestion in these let- 

ters that Timothy had a family. Indications of it are found in Lynchburg court records, however. On May 5, 
1848, he gave to his "son Alphonso Fletcher" a lot in Lynchburg at the junction of Third Street and Market 
Street or First Alley (Lynchburg Deed Book, vol. R, 116). A marriage license was Issued for Alphonso 
Fletcher and Almira C. Farmer, on May 14, 1853, and a few months later, on Sept. 13, 1853, 3" Inventory 
and appraisement of the estate of Alphonso Fletcher was entered In the Lynchburg Will Book (vol. D, 53). 
Timothy's will, dated July 8, 1864, includes this bequest: "First, I give to my adopted son, Adolphus T. 
Fletcher of the City of Lynchburg my brick home and lot on Main Street in the City of Lynchburg near 
Liberty Warehouse formerly occupied as the Virginian Office" (Will Book, vol. E, 497). A marriage license 
was issued June i, 1872, to Adolphus Timothy Fletcher^ 32, and Susannah Steptoe, 16. His occupation was 
given as teacher. 



PART II: 1830-1858 233 

Sweetbrier 
Jan. 5, i8j2 
Dear Brother, 

Yours enclosing a check for the unexpected large Dividend on my Bank stock 
of $26"]. 26 was duly recvd. and I yesterday had the pleasure of receiving yours of 
the 20th ultimo. 

Last week I received a very kind note from your son Cooly, dated at 
Richmond the 24th Dec. He with his Family had been there several days waiting 
the departure of the Vessel which was to carry them to Rio.' The unexampled 
cold and inclement weather, with some indisposition of his wife and child, he 
said, prevented their making, as they intended, a visit to us here. We all 
regretted this circumstance very much, particularly my Daughters, who 
frequently exclaim How glad would they have been to see them! This was a 
severer and longer continuance of cold weather than has been known for many 
years before January. The Thermometer here was down to 5 degrees above Zero. 
Every one had a fine opportunity to provide themselves abundantly with good 
ice. The weather became mild the 29th and has continued so ever since. 

There has been quite a limited number of hogs driven to this part of the 
country this season. The hay pretty uniformly sold at $6.50, some a little higher 
but some lower. Beef has been plenty in Lynchburg and Richmond, as the people 
were anxious to dispose of their Cattle without feeding much Corn to them on 
account of the small crop of last year. In Lynchburg the price of good Beef is 
about $5. In Richmond from $5 to $7. It will no doubt be much higher towards 
the latter part of the winter. Your extensive business of feeding must be very 
interesting. I have ever considered the stock and grazing Occupation the most 
interesting one In the world and you are to be congratulated upon having a son 
capable and faithful in managing it. The great difficulty I have ever found in 
carrying on business was in procuring competent and trustworthy Agents and 
many a scheme of improvement and design have I abandoned because I knew I 
could procure no one to carry out my views, which were too extensive to 
personally superintend myself. I am a great hand to plan and project, but do not 
like to execute the details. 

Sophia Patten is now with us.^ She came from New York here. Her situation is 
rather unpleasant, without a home or Friends to shelter and provide for her. I 
ever felt an anxiety to provide an independence for the Female part of my 
Family. The Boys can take care of themselves. 

I think it no misfortune to Professor Guysor that he does not succeed in his 
matrimonial plans. I think he is about the last man that would increase his own 
happiness or the happiness of his Partner by forming a marriage connection and I 
think he has reason to bless [The remainder of this letter is missing.] 

^ James Cooley Fletcher, who had been ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1851, went to Rio de 
Janeiro late that year as a missionary for the American and Foreign Christian Union and chaplain of the 
Seaman's Friend Society. In 1852—53 he also served as secretary of the U.S. Legation in Rio. During this 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 234 

and later visits he traveled extensively through Brazil. He was coauthor of a book, Brazil and the Brazilians, 
first published In 1857. At least seven later editions appeared, and were widely circulated In the United 
States, England, and Brazil (Nowland, op. cil., p. 495). "The second daughter of John and Sarah Craw- 

ford Patten (see letter of Apr. 8, 1838, nn.1,2). 



Sweetbrier Plantation 
May 18, 1852 
Dear Brother, 

Yours of the 6th instant has been received. A few days before receiving it, I 
had written to Stoughton upon the subject of our assembling this summer at the 
Old Mansion, thinking, unless called there on account of sickness, he might want 
some persuasion to leave home and meet with us. He has no doubt communicated 
to you my plans. I thought it would be pleasanter to be in Vermont in mid- 
summer than in the spring and if Harvest comes in as early as last year, by 
putting off my departure till about the 5th of July, I should see the operations of 
Harvest over before leaving home. Last year our harvest commenced the 23d 
June, but I do not think it will be as early this year. The Wheat Harvest 
generally lasts about seven days. 

Timothy will start about the ist of June. My Daughters will accompany me 
and it will be very gratifying to have you bring on some of your Children, 
particularly your oldest Daughter. Inda and Bettie have been planning out for 
her to return with them and spend the winter in Virginia and, if they could get 
your son Miles for a gallant,^ to visit the White Mountains in N. Hampshire and 
take other excursions with them while at the North. I thought I could not safely 
calculate upon being in Vermont before the 15th July. I am glad to hear Michael 
has concluded to be with us there. 

April with us was a wet and cold month. We began to plant corn the 7th of 
that month but did not finish, owing to the inclemency of the weather, till the 
9th May. We are now half way over with the plows and hoes for the ist 
time — always endeavor to work the corn twice before Harvest. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 



^ Calvin's fourth son. Miles, was the same age as Indiana. He received both A.B. and A.M. degrees from 
Brown in 1852. 



Sweetbrier 
May3i, 1852 
Dear Brother, 

Yours containing a Draft for $605.94 for the late Dividends on my Indiana 
Bank stock has been received. The amount exceeded by far any expectation I had 
ever entertained. You deserve great praise for making the institution so 



PART II: 1830-1858 235 

profitable, particularly when we consider that since the Bank has been in 
operation it has had to contend with a powerful political party, whose only object 
has been to cripple and embarrass, and has had to contend with times of great 
commercial prostration, such as destroyed the brilliant prospects and fortunes of 
thousands of active enterprising prospering individuals. 

The last week has witnessed the commencement of operations under our new 
constitution — the Election of all judicial and police officers by universal suffrage. 
Young America has triumphed and left but few with old standards in office. Your 
doctrine is right, that the offices are our property and ought to be cared for and 
guarded by us. But for a man of worth, of nice and delicate feelings, to enter into 
a contest with a rowdy and a rascal for an office requires strong nerve and great 
devotion to the public weal, and the odds in ordinary times is all against him 
when the low and degraded so greatly outnumber the wise, discreet and prudent. 
If our services are required for the public good, it would be wrong to withhold 
them, but it would be more questionable whether it be our duty to present 
ourselves unsolicited for an office, to make ourselves a target to be shot at by 
every vagabond, to have our integrit)' and motives questioned, to have all our 
private transactions during life brought into view, distorted and slandered by the 
very dregs of creation. 

You have no doubt received my letter about the Vermont trip and I hope you 
will find m\' proposal of being there about the 15th July meets your convenience. 
Timothy left for Vermont last Friday. 

The wheat crop in these parts is not considered promising, great complaint of 
Fly and the fall & winter were unfavorable to its taking a good start. We are now 
working our corn for the second time. 

With respects to all, let me once more subscribe myself your Brother, 

E Fletcher 



Sweetbrier 
June 14, 1852 
Dear Brother, 

I had written to Sister Lucy, extending through her a request to Maj. 
Miller^ & his Daughters and to Lucys two sons" & Families to meet us at The Old 
Mansion. I will, however, write an especial Letter to Maj. Miller and would 
write to Jesse's son' but know not his place of residence. A Letter from you to 
him will do as well. I will likewise write to Charlotte* and Fanny ,'^ as an invita- 
tion from one at a distance will perhaps be more thought of than from you who 
are in daily intercourse with them. I am very much pleased to think you will 
bring your wife to the meeting. She certainly deserves a short respite from her 
long and unremitted domestic duties, which she has so long and faithfully per- 
formed. Her leaving home will depend much on )ou, for one so long retired and 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 236 

so devoted to home, will require active persuasion to forsake her faithfully 
worshipped household gods, even for a short time. 

I have no doubt you are wise in turning your attention to the Breeding of fine 
stock. Everything at present is buoyant. It is Flood Tide. You should act with 
efficiency, take the lead, get a little celebrity for fine stock and you may make it a 
profitable business. The profits of breeding Fancy stock are handsome, but 
require good judgment and nice attention. We can talk over these things when 
we meet. 

The weather has been for several days quite cool, the prospects of the Wheat 
crop gloomy. The Fly has done much harm. A new insect, first heard of last year 
in Albemarle County, has this year greatly extended its field of destruction. It 
has reached within about ten miles of this place. It locates in the middle joint of 
the stalk of Wheat and destroys whole fields. The Corn has been more than 
usually affected with the wire worm. But this County, though comparatively 
poor, will always raise an abundance. There is never any dread of raising an 
abundance for consumption. The only anxiety is that we shall not have as much 
to sell as we once expected. 

Farewell. 
E Fletcher 

^Louisa Fletcher's husband j she died in 1836. ^Fletcher and Stephen Williams. ^ In addition to 

Seymour, Jesse's sons included George and John. ^ Charlotte was Laura Fletcher Button's elder daughter. 

Calvin's diary on Sept. 27, 1849, states: *'I learn Miss Charlotte Button Is to be married to Col. Robson." 
The U.S. Census, Indianapolis, 1850, p. 516, indicates that William Robson was a widower with four chil- 
dren when he married Charlotte. It lists her brother, Calvin Button, 20, as a member of the Robson house- 
hold, and shows that the two men operated a livery stable. ^ Fanny Button Yandes (see letter of May 30, 
1851). 



To Calvin Fletcher from Miles Fletcher 

Marlboro 
July 31, 1852 
Dr Brother, 

Yours dated Boston 30th has just been received. Michael left here on Tuesday 
morning for Indianapolis in good Health & Spirits. I took him to Newburgh & 
put him on board of the cars & got him a Ticket to Cincinnata & I hope he is 
now enjoying the good society of his friends at Indianapolis. Can you make it 
convenient to come this way & call on us? 

The Melancolly affair of the Henry Clay, produced great excitement with us, 
several of my acquaintants are lost.' I see in to-days paper that a Trunk has been 
found at the Reck marked E. F. Parker, Vt." Remember me to your wife. 

I remain. Your Brother, 
M. J. Fletcher 



PART /!: 1830-1858 237 

^ The S. S. Henry Clay burned in the Hudson River with the loss of 72 lives {Annual Register, 1852 
[LondoD} 1853], p. lOl)' "This was probably Elijah Fletcher Parker of Proctorsvllle, Vt., a brother of 

Isaac Parker mentioned in earlier letters and a first cousin of Miles and Elijah Fletcher (Fletcher, op. ci/., 

p. 128). 



Sweetbrier 
Aug. 4, 1852 
Dear Brother, 

After separating from \ ou at the Old Mansion we had a pleasant ride to 
Westford, reaching there about one of the Clock, found Aunt Fann\' well and 
remained with her till the next morning.' In the evening I walked up to the 
middle of the town, and though some forty years since there, and many changes, 
the localities looked natural. 

Aunt Fanny says she is 8 1 \ears old, and while there she was lively and seemed 
to have a perfect recollection of past events & is able to do her own work. Still, 
her daughter that married a Richardson" was there on a visit, said she saw a great 
change and feared her life would not be long, said the excitement of our visit 
revived her much and that an apathy would come over her when we departed. 
She was much delighted with our visit, taliced a good deal about you and the 
interest she took and felt in you when you left Westford, and Mrs Richardson 
very pathetically described her parting with )'ou on that occasion. My Daughters 
viewed this visit one of the most interesting features of their trip. They saw the 
old Furniture and old buildings of times a century ago. Aunt Fanny exhibited her 
wedding shoes which she wore some seventy years ago. We visited no other of 
our relations there, but heard that Aunt Deacon Fletcher was well and quite 
spry.' 

We left Westford at 8. a.m. in the train, passing through Lowell for Boston, 
where we spent a day, and then for Newport, spending a day, and then for New 
York, where we spent four days, and a day and half in Philadelphia, and then for 
home which we reached the morning of the 29th, finding all well and every thing 
gone on well in my absence. Two deaths had, however, occurred among my 
Servants — one a ver\" old man, the other a young woman, who had been sick a 
long time — which I had reason to expect when I left home. Thus wound up a trip 
which I consider one of the more pleasing events of my life and makes me 
fervently pray that a kind Providence may favor us all with life and health to 
enjov another meeting of a like kind two years hence. 

While absent, there were occasional showers to keep vegetation alive. Since my 
return there has been better rains and last night and to day a good constant rain 
that will saturate the ground and help much to mature a tolerable Corn crop. 

I have just hastily sketched this little narrative of events since we parted, as 
you might feel some little anxiety to know how we fared on our way home, and 
that we escaped the many perils incident to travel such as befell our relation, 
Mrs. Colby,* and many others in the disaster of the Steam Boat Henry Clay. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 238 

Give my best respects to your wife, whose acquaintance tended to heighten 
very much a favorable opinion already formed of her, and Michael and 
Stoughton & Richardson and all your children. With a hope that you are all 
safely at home, I subscribe myself once more, your Brother, 

E Fletcher 

^ This was undoubtedly Frances Grant Keyes Fletcher (b.1771). A sister of Lucy Keyes Fletcher, she mar- 
ried Joseph Fletcher in 1794 (Hodgman, op. cit., p. 457). "This must have been Polly Fletcher (b.lSoz) 
\Aho married Orville Richardson of Leominster, Mass., on June 29, 1826 (Fletcher, op. cii., p. 130). 

■'■ Miriam Keyes (b.1767) married Deacon Samuel Fletcher and lived to be 102 (Hodgman, ibid.). 

■* Harriet Elizabeth Proctor, the oldest daughter of Jabez and Betsey Parker Proctor, married Stoddard B. 
Colby. She was a niece of Elijah F. Parker and Isaac Parker (Fletcher, op. cit.j p. 127). 

Sweetbrier 
Nov. 7, 1852 
Dear Brother, 

Your kind favor has been received some short time [since] and it afforded me 
pleasure to learn that you had reached home in safety and found all well. The 
Paper containing a flattering notice of your son in Brasil, as well as the awards of 
your cattle show in which your Farmer son was conspicuously noticed, has 
likewise been received. It is very gratifying to you, no doubt, these manifestations 
of respect paid to your children. It certainly made me feel proud that they were 
so worthily sustaining the name they bear. 

I have spent the time since my arrival home very pleasantly in my usual 
avocations. The weather has been most pleasant and agreeable — rarely have I 
seen a more pleasant Fall — yet no Frosts to kill the vegetation and the season has 
been most favorable to the late crops. We have seeded our Wheat, are harvesting 
our Corn and in a week will be ready to begin planting for the next years Corn 
Crop. There is here, as with you, quite a speculating demand for cattle. 
Purchasers from the valley and northern part of this state have been picking up 
all the cattle, large and small, they can find, giving a third more for them than 
the customary prices heretofore. It has not been much of an object heretofore for 
the people here to raise cattle, but this demand and these prices will stimulate the 
inhabitants to turn their attention to that business. 

We all look forward with much pleasure to the performance of your promise 
of a visit from your son & daughter. [It] will be very gratifying to see and 
entertain your children. 

We are now making a completion of our new building. The marble man is 
putting in his hearths and Mantles, Plasterer has finished, the Painters and 
Paper hangers are at work, and the Furniture ordered when in N. York and 
Philadelphia is arriving. I tell Inda and Bettie they will become lonesome when 
all is finished and they have no more to keep up the excitement. They say not, 
that they will then amuse themselves with taking care of these things which have 
caused so much trouble and expense and which they prize so highly. 



PART II: 1830-1858 239 

I write you this in haste, that \'ou may learn that we are all well, and that I 

still cherish a lively affection and regard for you. 

With love and respects to all, I will bid you once more good bye. 

E Fletcher 



Sweetbrier 
Dec. 3, 1852 
Dear Brother, 

Yours containing a check for my Dividends on Indiana Bank stock in full to 
Nov. 1852 was received in due time, and I have now the pleasure of acknowledg- 
ing yours of 22nd Nov. 

Your varied occupations in your own affairs and in those where you are 
dispensing good to your fellow men must make your time pass swiftly and 
pleasantly. I never thought it an evil to have enough to do and have long come 
to the conclusion it is better to have too much than too little to occupy our 
attention. What little time Providence allots us in this world should be fully 
employed to pass pleasantly, and when this time is not only fully, but usefully 
and benevolently employed, it cannot fail to render our temporary existence the 
more agreeable. No day passes so wearisome to me as that of listlessness and want 
of employment. 

Timothy returned home the early part of November in excellent health. He 
delights to recount the occurrences of our visit to him last summer. Sidney was in 
Lynchburg a day or two past. His uncle Tim dwelt upon these topics, told him 
how badly he had been treated, that he had invited no one to visit him and made 
no provisions for company but there was a conspiracy laid to annoy him. Circulars 
were distributed all over the United States, inviting Company to assemble at the 
Old Mansion. But he boasted, after all, that he was able to entertain them and 
could have accommodated a hundred more. He said they all behaved pretty well. 
Some went away in good time and others staid rather long. He had hoped to 
have disposed of them all at one time but he had to make three Trips. Some, he 
says, went away without the ceremony of bidding him fare well, others did not 
write to him after their return, etc. Sid thinks the pleasure of dwelling upon this 
subject will prolong his existence many years. He wrote me after my return that 
some of his compan\' went away without bidding him good bye. In those he 
alluded to my Daughters. They have ever strove very hard to please him but 
some little thing, unintended, frequently occurs to excite his displeasure. But he 
will after a while become reconciled, treats them very kindly, spares no trouble 
and expense to gratify them. 

November throughout was a cool unpleasant month. December has set in more 
mildly but inclined to too much wet. We have not finished housing our Corn, but 
are plowing for the next summers crops. There has been a few hogs in 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 240 

Lynchburg, selling at $7 to [$8? ]. It will probably be higher, as I see from 
the western and northern papers that it is there advancing, and if you did not sell 
too early will no doubt realize a higher price than you say you had been offered. 
Every thing is buoyant and every speculation successful here. How long these 
things will last cannot be told, but we have seen similar times before and shall, as 
heretofore, certainly witness a reverse if we live a few years. 

This is a steady rainy day. The girls are with me, their mother in town. Your 
familiar Letters never tire but always interest me, and with the hope of receiving 
another shortly, I subscribe myself your Brother, 

E Fletcher 



Sweetbrier, Amherst Count)', Virginia 
April 21, 1853 
Dear Brother, 

Your kind letter of March 25 was recvd in due time. I believe I was your 
debtor for one before, but I am duly grateful for your promptness in writing. 
Nothing affords me more pleasure than to receive and read your sprightly, 
interesting Letters. My Daughters read them over with great pleasure and 
esteem them highly. 

Our winter has been much as you described yours — little or no snow. The 
spring, though not very cold, is more backward than the last after the severe 
winter of 1 852. We began planting corn some ten days ago and with good 
weather will finish in ten days to come. The Wheat crop so far is thought to look 
promising. 

Timothy has been a little complaining with bad colds the past winter and does 
not look so full and fleshy as last summer. I have said nothing to him about your 
proposition to visit Vermont next summer. No doubt he would be glad to see you 
and more particularly if you visit him without ceremony. I think he is very fond 
of the society of his Brothers and Sisters and an\' of his relations. My Daughters 
think he was particularly pleased with your prolonged stay at the Old Mansion 
last summer. I shall not travel much this year but hope life and health may be 
spared me to meet with you all in 1 854. 

Inda and Bettie will take a short trip to N York the last of this month or 
beginning of June. They tried to get Sidney to take a pleasing excursion 
westward, visiting )'ou and then around to N. York. He at first assented, but 
believe he has backed out and will only go with them directly to N York and 
back. His disposition is rather peculiar about a fondness for home and nothing 
seems to annoy him as much as to be compelled to leave it. 

You no doubt felt great relief in getting your fat cattle off at satisfactory 
prices. The care and expense of feeding so many must be great. I have observed 
that the prices of Beef on the Eastern markets, though not unusually high during 



PART II: 1830-1858 241 

the winter, closes quite stiff at an advance. I am much pleased with the weekly 
review of the Cattle market in the New York Tribune. My Daughters take the 
Weekly Tribune^ on account of the Foreign Correspondence, particularly that of 
Ba\'ard Taylor." It is a paper conducted with much industry, but I am not very 
partial to the opinions and sentiments of its Editors. In fact there is so little 
honest sincerity in most of the writers of the day that I take little interest in the 
greater part of their writings, be their productions either political or Literary. 

Our Legislature became very liberal, at last, in appropriating money for 
Interna] Improvements, about 1 5,000 during its session which has just closed. 
Some for works of great importance, much of no consequence. They have 
likewise extended their Banking Institutions. Most every village of the state now 
has one or two Banks, and the larger cities four or five. Lynchburg has just 
started an Independent Bank upon the N York system.^ Your old Friend, David 
R Edley, is its President. This will make its fourth Bank of large capital, besides 
four or five Savings Banks, one of which does an extensive business in making 
loans. Without the Caliafornia Gold, so many Banks ought to make money 
plenty. 

Write me every opportunity and, with respects to all, let me once more say 
Farewell. 

E Fletcher 

^ The New York Tribune was launched in 1841 by Horace Greeley (1811—72) as a daily; shortly there- 
after the TrthuTie weekly also appeared. By 1846 the Tribune had become the best paper in the city, attracting 
an able and versatile staff. It also became a great popular teacher, with a wide circulation, but because it was 
anti-slavery it had few readers in the South {D.A.B., VII, 529-30). "Bayard Taylor (1825-78) became 

the "young hero among travelers" through a series of letters published in the Tribune during his first Euro- 
pean sojourn, 1844—46. As a Tribune correspondent, he went to California via Panama in 1849, returning 
by way of Mexico; in 1851 he set off for more than two years of travel in the Near and Far East, spend- 
ing some time in 1S55 with Commodore Perry's squadron in Japan {D.A.B., XVIII, 315)- ^ The Vir- 
ginia General Assembly on Feb. 7, 1853, authorized the Exchange Bank of Virginia to open an office at 
Lynchburg (Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia [Richmond, 1854], p. 82). An earlier Exchange 
Bank was opened in Lynchburg in 1814 (Christian, op. cit., p. 53). 



Sweetbrier 
May 24, 1853 
Dear Brother, 

Yesterda\ yours came to hand, enclosing a check for $506.20/100 in full for 
Dividends on Indiana Bank stock up to this time. 

It afforded me pleasure to again hear from you and to learn that you all 
continued prosperous and health [y ] . Timothy, I expect, left Lynchburg for 
Vermont this morning. He had much improved from the affliction of an ulcerated 
mouth with which he has been long afflicted. He had been for a long time under 
the advice of the skilful Doctors of Lynchburg without any improvement. He at 
last resorted to the use of Alum water from a celebrated Alum Spring in Bath 
County some fifty or sixty miles west of this, which immediately gave relief.' I 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 242 

suppose he will make no stop on his way, and you will hardly see him though you 
will be in N. York, perhaps, when he passes through. 

Sidney and his sisters had appointed next Sunday, the 29th, to start. Had they 
earlier known that you were to be there at this time, they would have tried to 
meet you, though they had delayed their trip a few days hoping the Chrystal 
Palace would be open," as promised, by the ist of June. When they reach N. 
York the time is so short to reach the Old Mansion, they will probably run up 
there to spend two days. Two weeks is the only time Sidney allows for his trip, 
and he hates to leave home so much if he could now back out with any reasonable 
excuse, he would soon do it. But the girls hold him on to his promise to 
accompany them. They go to rub off a little dom [estic] dust, to see what is new, 
and what is going on in the world and do their Spring and Summer shopping. 
They rarely deal in Lynchburg. 

We have had a tolerably pleasant Spring with no late killing frosts, so that 
fruit of every description will be quite abundant. The Cherries and Strawberries 
are getting ripe. The Wheat in places has suffered by the Fly. Sidney has finished 
weeding his Corn. He is generally first in all his Farming operations. 

I have no great building or mechanical operations on at present, and shall have 
a more quiet and peaceable time of it this summer than usual. 

With respects to all and renewed assurance of continuing affection for yourself, 
I once more subscribe myself your Brother, 

E Fletcher 

^ Bath Alum Springs, near the eastern base of Warm Springs Mountain in Bath County, Va., began to 
attract public attention around 1851 (Moorman, op. cit., p. 232). "The Crystal Palace was opened 

July 14. It was a large structure, built as part of the New '\'ork World's Fair of 1853, on Sixth Avenue be- 
tween 40th and 42nd streets. Three years later it was destroyed by fire. The site is now Bryant Park {Ency- 
clopedia Americana [New York, 1959], VIII, 277). 



Sweetbrier 
June 26, 1853 
Dear Brother, 

Your interesting letter, after your journey to New York was gladly received. 
Sidney and his Sisters were in N York a few days after you left and heard of you 
there. They ran up on the cars to Vermont and spent three or four days at the Old 
Mansion. Brother T. was delighted to see them, but his old complaint of soar 
mouth returned and afflicted him much. Sidney, in consultation with the 
Physician there, advised as essential a regime of total abstinence from any thing 
stimulating and only the simplest diet. He rather rebelled against the 
prescription at first, but being assured that his critical situation required it, he 
submitted. If this does not produce relief, he will probably visit Boston to consult 
Dr Jackson.^ He wrote me a long letter dated the lOth soon after they left, said 



PART II: 1830-1858 243 

he was not as well as he wished, but I hope if he hears to the advice of his Phy- 
sician he will soon recover. 

I am pleased to hear that you found them at New Ark making preparations for 
the anticipated meeting at the Old Mansion in 1 854. None look forward to that 
event with more pleasure than I do and when I go, do not intend to hurry myself 
but spend more time in the trip. I shall tr)' to have some arrangement made that 
a horse and vehicle may be in readiness for our use to take little excursions while 
there. I pray that health and life may be preserved us to enjoy the meeting. 

You allude in your Letter to an interview while in New York with Mr 
Livingston." As to myself, I have never felt satisfied with my course in this 
matter. To gratify my Daughters induced me to consent against my better 
judgment. I have taken up rather an unfavorable opinion of Mr Livingston. I 
should think him a smart, generous, smooth, oily-tongued man; that his 
Enterprise, however laudable and useful, under proper restrictions, will for the 
purpose of gain be run into the ridiculous, and make many who have a proper 
modesty and esteem for themselves ashamed that they consented to have any 
thing to do with it. 

We have had a rather cool Summer and now in the Midst of Harvest with, in 
this neighborhood, more than an average crop of Wheat. But throughout the 
state there is great complaint of the destruction of the Fly and joint worm and 
the general crop will not be an average one. The dry weather, which has been 
continuing for four or five weeks, has ripened the Wheat handsomely. It will, 
however, cut the oat crop quite short and affect injuriously the Tobacco crop, 
having given no chance to plant it in due season. 

Sidney and the girls were much pleased with their short trip but regretted not 
meeting you on the way. The girls say everything in Vermont, and particularly 
about the [Old Mansion] , looked more lovely and interesting than they ever saw 
it. 

With respects to all, your Brother, 

E Fletcher 

^ Dr. James Jackson {1777—1867) helped to reorganize Harvard Medical School In 1810 and was largely 
responsible for the foundation of the Massachusetts General Hospital, opened in 1821. As a physician, he 
exerted great influence throughout the country {D.A,B., IX, 54.5—46). 'John Livingston edited Portraits 

and Mer}toirs of Emitifnt Americans (New York, 1854). Elijah's biographical sketch appears in vol. Ill, 
pp. 15—20. A receipt found among family papers shows that Elijah bought one copy of vol. Ill for $4.50 and 
100 offprints of his sketch for $10.50. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 244 

To Richardson Fletcher from Timothy Fletcher 

Lynchburg 
10 October, 1853 
Dear Richardson, 

I am back in old Virginia again, left the old Mansion House 19 Sept. and 
arrived here the 23 of Sept. Left all well. We had two Frosts a few days before I 
left and Since I have been home, we have had cold Nights and Frost that injured 
the Tobacco considerable but now the weather is warm and pleasant but very 
dry. 

The first I heard of your Aunt Marias death,^ your Uncle Elijahs Wife, was 
after I arrived home. She died about 10 days before I arrived. She was sick with a 
bad Fever, only 10 days. Your Uncle Elijah, Indiana, and Elizabeth have been 
over to See me since I got home. They Mourn much for the Suden death and los 
of your Aunt but she has gone to her long home, never to return, and paid the 
debt we have all got to pay sooner or later. 

I did not stop to see your Uncle Miles, though I intended to, but I had to 
hurry back sooner than I expected to. Your [Aunt] Miles and Ida" Spent about 6 
weeks with me last Summer. I have heard since I returned that your Aunt Miles 
ankle was no better and that her health was bad. Poor woman, I fear she wont 
live long. She suffers much. 

My health is good at this time and so is all of your Uncle Elijahs family, 
[th ] ough it is quite Sickly in this place, but I hope the cold weather will make 
[it] more healthy. I got your kind letter a few days before I left the old Mansion 
House and I was pleased to here that you were all in good health. Horace^ was 
kind enough to call on me and I was glad to see him. I hope he got back safe and 
in good health. His Fathers health was on the mend when I left. I [enjoyed] my 
Self last Summer but I was sory I could not have the pleasure of a visit from you, 
for I expected one. I looked anxiously for you for some time [and] was 
disapointed that you did not visit me, and so was Susan. But if we live, I yet 
hope you will meet me at the old Mansion House; you sh [ouldi' ] be well 
treated. 

Bread Stuffs are very high here and still raising. Wheat sold last week at 
$1-37/^ per Bushell, Flour per Barrel from $8 [to] 9 Dollars per Barrell, and 
every thing else in proportion. Your Uncle Elijah and Cousin Sidney have large 
crops on hand and they have not sold yet, they think they will git one Dollar per 
Bushel for their Wheat. Money has been for two or 3 weeks scarce. Tobacco is 
high and arising account of the early Frosts which has damaged the Tobacco 
Crop very much, but I think there is aplenty for us all and I dont intend to wory 
my self nor make Money my God. 

I wory much about your Uncle Stoughtons health. I hope he will be prudent 
and carfull and I hope he will spend [a part] his Summers on the Green 
Mountains at the old Mansion House for it is [our] home. My most effectionate 



PART II: 1820-1858 245 

feelings to him and his Family, m\' Kindest feelings to your Father and to my 
dear Louisa,^ her husband, and little Boys. Remember me effectionately to your 
Uncle and Aunt Calvin and Family and to all my friends. 

I think much of my Birth place and would rather live in Sight of the Green 
Mountains than any where else and never shall forgit the happy days I have 
Spent their and I regretted much to have to leave Vermont so soon. 

I hope you will write me often, for it does [me] good to git letters from you 
often, for you are the only one that writes [me] . I shall write you again before 
long. Be pleased to except of my Kindest feelings towards you and may you injoy 
good health and a long life and May God be your protecter and guide you to ever 
lasting happiness. 

Your devoted Uncle, God bles you, good bye. 

T. Fletcher 

^ Maria Fletcher died Sept. 10, 1853. According to Mrs. Patteson, whose father was a friend of Sidney 
Fletcher, she is said to have been visiting Sidney at the time of her last illness i this may explain why she 
was buried at Tusculum. "The youngest of Miles' seven children. ^ A son of Asa Fletcher, who had 

become a business partner of Richardson Fletcher in Indianapolis (see letter of Dec. 26, 1843). "* Mi- 

chael's daughter, Louisa M. Fletcher, was married Feb. 12, 1850, to Joshua F. Holt, according to Calvin 
Fletcher's diary. 



Sweetbrier 
December 2, 1853 
Dear Brother 

Yours of the 23d ult. came to hand yesterday, containing a Draft in full for 
Dividends on my Indiana Bank Stock up to this time. It was gratifying to me to 
learn once more that you were all in good health and prosperous. 

We have had mourning and affliction in our Family since I wrote you last. 
Death has laid a heavy hand and made a great raid in our social circle, and 
though the lot of humanity, it is not the less distressing and grievous to lose one 
we have long been connected with in the joys as well as conflicts of life's busy 
scenes. 

With us October was a cold month and one snow five or six inches deep. 
November was pleasant and December has made a mild beginning. Our Fall 
crops were as abundant as usual. Very few Western hogs have reached this 
vicinity, not as many are droven here and slaughtered as in former times. The 
great supply is in Bacon by the way of Baltimore. Domestic pork is selling at $6. 
Stock cattle the last summer have been in great demand at very advanced prices 
and this part of Virginia have sold most all they had. They are principally driven 
to the valley and Northern parts of this state. Wheat has commanded from a 
dollar to a dollar fifty here but at present there is a little depression in the 
market. 

Timothy enjoys good health. But if he had fuller employment and more 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 246 

objects of attachment to amuse and interest him, he would probably pass his 
latter days more agreeably. I think it quite a mistaken notion for one raised to 
active employment to think he will enhance the happiness of his latter days by 
spending them in ease and indolence. 

Your son will have an interesting trip to North West.^ I many times think I 
would like to visit the North in the winter and witness once more the scenes and 
circumstances that so much amused in my boyhood. 

I concur in making the time of appointment for our meeting next summer the 
1 5th of July and if life and health be spared me, [will] most surely be with you, 
and the more the merrier. 

With cordial and friendly greetings to all, I once more subscribe myself your 
affectionate Brother, 

E Fletcher 

^Ingram Fletcher and his mother, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Yandes, set off in June 1853 on a trip 
to Lake Superior and northern Michigan. Mrs. Fletcher returned in July, but Ingram went on to Minnesota, 
then to Pembine, Wis., and came back to Indianapolis via St. Paul and Chicago on Jan. 6, 1854 (excerpts 
from Calvin Fletcher's diary). 

Sweetbrier, Amherst County, Va. 
March 23, 1854 
Dear Brother, 

Your late letter came safely to hand and it gratified me much to hear of your 
continued health and prosperity. We have nearly passed through the cold season 
of another winter and spring. March thus far has been a pleasant month, pulling 
forward the grass and vegetation more rapidly than usual. All the early fruit of 
Peaches, cherries, &c. have sometime been in bloom, and a cold night or two 
lately has probably destroyed the most of it. The grass is so forward in good 
pasturage that cattle can get a good living out. The oats are principally sowed 
and most of them up. In eight or ten days, planting of corn will commence. 

I was pleased to hear of your sons return from his adventurous North west 
trip. I think thus far you have cause for thankfulness in the prospects of your 
children. As they grow up they seem disposed to assume a useful and prominent 
position in society. I was much gratified last winter in receiving from Mrs 
Garland,^ for perusal, a communication sent to her by Dr Rose, from your son, the 
Professor,^ to the Drs son. It displayed much talent, with the most refined 
feelings of a good heart. Your son in Brazil, too, is from what I learn, making 
himself eminent and useful. 

I received a letter a short time past from sister Fanny at Proctersville 
[Vermont] . I regret that in her old age she has to seek a shelter among 
strangers.^ 

Fletcher Williams has been here and spent a week.^ We were all much pleased 
with his visit. 



PART If: 1830-1858 247 

Brother Timothy invited me over the loth of this month to take dinner with 
him on the anniv-ersary of his birthday. ' He is in pretty good health, occasionally 
low-spirited. He will soon be making preparations to go north where, I think, he 
enjoys himself much more than here. 

My daughters and myself are looking forward with pleasant anticipations to 
our meeting again at the Old Mansion next July. 

Enclosed is a paragraph from one of our Richmond papers, detailing the 
troubles of a distant kindred and namesake of yours. 

Inda & Bettie wish to be kindly remembered to you and Mrs F. 

Your affectionate Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^This could have been Mrs. David Garland (1776— 1855), Dr. Rose's mother-in-law. -Calvin's fourth 

son, Miles J. Fletcher (1828—62), received both A.B. and A.M. degrees at Brown in 1852 and became pro- 
fessor of history and belles Uteres at Asbury University, Greencastle, Ind. He resigned In 1854 to enter the 
Dane Law School in Cambridge, Mass. .After his graduation in 1857 he was reappointed to a professorship 
at Asbury (now De Pauw- University). In i860 he was elected superintendent of public instruction for In- 
diana (Nowland, op. cii., pp. 496—97). ^ The oldest of the sisters, Fanny was then 68. ^Lucy's oldest 
son, Fletcher Williams (1817—98), was the founder and for many years the president of the First National 
Bank of Newark, N.Y. (Cowles, op. cit., Part II, p. 310). ^ Timothy, born in 1791, was then 63. 

Sweetbrier 
April 9, 1854 
Dear Brother, 

I was in Lynchburg yesterday and was pleased to learn from Timothy that you 
had written him a kind letter. It was very acceptable to him. These little 
attentions gratify him much. It pleases him to do us favers and that we should 
acknowledge them and feel a little dependence upon him is still more 
gratifying. 

There has been a local occurrence in Lynchburg lately that has cheered him 
very much. Your Temperance Friends there commenced a crusade and warfare 
upon all the local authorities that did not faver their views. They attempted a 
demonstration to turn out all the civil officers who were favorable to the granting 
Tavern licences to sell ardent spirits. They called a Town meeting at the 
Temperance hall, to form a ticket of strictly temperance character, which created 
much excitement in the city and prolonged discussion and as it was thought they 
were rather stepping out of their sphere and carrying the matter too far, a 
reaction took place, and Timothy was reelected to the Magistracy by an 
overwhelming vote.' This has been an office heretofore very acceptabel to him, 
and this triumph has greatly exhilerated him. He purposes leaving here for the 
North in May, after the City Court which is sitting the first Monday. 

March was a pleasant spring-like month till towards the latter part. Then 
there was snow and cold weather which continued into April. The night of the 
4th was as freezing as I ever recall in April here, and killed all the early fruit. 
The Apples had not fully bloomed and that crop may be partly safe. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 248 

Inda and Bettie are in town. They spend a few days there occasionally, and 
particularly they like to be there to go to church on the sabbath. As this is Sunday, 
Sidney will be with me. He rarely fails to spend that day with me. 

I write you this short note because I was thinking much of you, and to thank 
you for making Timothy so happy. He is often depressed in his feelings, and 
wants the attention of his Friends to cheer him up. Respects to all. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^ Timothy was elected to the town council in I S40 and 1841 \ he was returned to office in 1846 and every 
year thereafter until 1855, according to court records in Lynchburg. As a council member, or alderman, he 
was also a justice in the hustings, or city, court. 

Sweetbrier 
June 15, 1854 
Dear Brother, 

Your Letter with a check for my Dividends on Indiana Bank stock for the last 
half year was received. Your Bank must have been under the best of management 
to make such profits. 

The time of our meeting at the old Mansion draws near and I trust we may all 
be blessed with health and good luck to be there and greet once more each other 
in person. 

Our harvest is rather later this year than last. The crops in parts of the state are 
much injured by Fly, [joint worm.? ] &c., but with a few more days favorable 
weather, will be an average crop. The season up to this time has been late, cold & 
backward. 

I have not heard from Timothy since his departure. I suppose Michael is with 
him by this time. William Crawfords oldest daughter and the son that was in 
Indiana on the Rail Road are now here. He speaks with much kindness and 
gratitude for your favors and attention. 

As I hope so soon to see you, will write no more now, but with respects to all, 
bid you adieu. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 



Sweetbrier, Virginia 
July 28, 1854 
Dear Brother, 

Your welcome letter reached me last week. Its details interested me very 
much. My correspondence is quite limited and none of the Friendly kind but 
yours, except an occasional epistle from Lucy or some of the other Brothers. 
Timothy has not written us since he left for Vermont. Susan wrote a letter to 
Bettie soon after his arrival in Vermont is all we have heard of him. 



PART II: 1830-1858 249 

I occasionally get letters from my wife's connections but they are all asking 
favors, loans of money &c. Three weeks ago one for $I00, last week another 
application, for $2,000. These things annoy me, as they are highly improper and 
unreasonable. So }our purely friendly communications are welcomed with great 
pleasure. I like to open and peruse. The others I dread to open, as they are from 
the lazy and unworthy, asking me to provide for their imprudence. When 
Timothy writes, he writes with much friendship and feeling, and if he does not 
write I take no ex'ception but continue to write him and make my Daughters do 
the same. 

You speak of a future Family meeting. I sometimes fear that Stoughtons 
prediction will come true. At our last meeting I feared we were using Timothys 
kindness too much, or he seemed to think so, and I feel as if no other place was fit 
for a Family reunion but the Old Mansion. It is unpleasant to think that we 
should not all meet again and hope something may turn up to cause such a 
meeting. The last two meetings were happy days to me, and will not yet despair 
of enjoying another. 

Inda & Betty spend most of their time here with me during the hot weather 
and rarely go to town except for the purpose of attending church. For the last 
month it has been quite warm and much showery wet weather. I rarely 
remember a wetter Harvest, which is with the oats. It took two weeks to secure 
the wheat harvest and two weeks for the oat har\'est, longer than usual on 
account of so much rain. The wheat is now hauled up ready for threshing and the 
oats will next week be hauled up and [secured? ] . The oats serve as the principal 
feed for this time, till the new crop of corn comes in, for our work animals. Corn 
is worth about $1.12^2 the Bushel and v-ery scarce. None to sell in our 
neighborhood and the country people go to Lynchburg to buy it. Tennessee Rail 
Road has brought in so far enough to supply the market. I most always keep 
some [on hand? ] for fear of an accident. There are so many to feed, it would be 
quite alarming for me to be without bread for my people. 

I spend my time in planning and giving directions to my hands, ride out into 
the field in the morning, spend an hour or two, then return and read and amuse 
myself till middle of the afternoon, then go again and spend a short time, and 
time passes very agreeably. 

Inda & Bettie never complain that the days are too long, always finding 
something to interest them in their domestic management and projects. They 
read much and spend much time with their music. Inda is a great enthusiast with 
her Harp. She took lessons again while in New York last winter from a ver)' 
distinguished Welch Teacher, and practiced six or seven hours each day. It 
gratifies me that they are contented and pass their days usefully and 
pleasantly. 

Remember me affectionately to all our connections and receive the assurance of 
my continued affection and regards. 

E Fletcher 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 250 

Sweetbrler, Va. 
Oct. 30, 1854 
Dear Brother, 

Yours announcing the death of your estimable wife has been recvd/ The news 
was as melancholy as unexpected. To my daughters the sad intelligence was very 
affecting, for Aunt Sarah was a great favorite with them. When she was so kindly 
nursing you at the old Mansion last summer, little did I expect she would be the 
first to be called home. 

We have enjoyed uninterrupted good health since our return. The fall has 
continued unusually warm and dry. A week or two past there was some frosts, but 
the forests still retain their varied foliage. We have just finished seeding wheat 
and gathered in a good portion of the corn. It is a little crop throughout Virginia. 
In this country at a public sale last week, corn brought at the stack $5.00 per 
Barrel of five Bushels. [Few? ] cattle will be fed for Beef hereabouts and stock 
cattle are very low and quite unsaleable. We have a few cattle dealers among us 
who buy up cattle in the spring to pasture in our Mountain with the expectation 
of selling to the graziers of our northern country in the fall. But this year they 
fail entirely to sell and have them on hand without the means of keeping over. 

We hear of late nothing from Timothy but shall soon be looking for his 
return. Inda & Bettie have some idea of spending a portion of the winter in N 
York City, where they will have a better opportunity of attending Lectures and 
mental improvement than in the mountains of Virginia. 

The financial difficulties of the country are increasing and from the deranged 
state of your Free Banks and your intimate connection with the commercial 
world [you] will have your hands full to stand safely through the crisis. Your 
Letters to me with the information how you get along will be interesting and I 
hope you will find time to write often. 

My ties of affection to you have been much increased by your kindness to sister 
Fanny and the stand you have taken to prevent her being left to the mercy of 
strangers. Stoughton and Richardsons conduct in relation to this matter was very 
unexpected and much lamented. 

With kind respects to all your Family and to Fanny^ and Michael, I subscribe 
myself once more your affectionate Brother, 

E Fletcher 

'^ Sarah Hill Fletcher died Sept. 27, 1854, according to Calvin Fletcher's diary. 'it appears that Fanny 

Bliss was living with Calvin's family. 



PART II: lSiO-1858 251 

Sweetbrier, Va. 

Jan. 9. 1855 
Dear Brother, 

I have to this time neglected answering j-ours containing a Draft for Divi- 
dends on Indiana Bank stock for the last half year. I had anticipated a smaller 
Dividend than usual from the great trouble in money matters. These commercial 
embarrassments are felt here in our cities in some degree, but our country is very 
clear of debt. Our Products are bringing high prices and I anticipate these 
embarrassments in our towns to last but a short time. I have felt some little 
solicitude about Stoughton in these deranged monltary matters, but I hope he 
keeps his head above water, which is about as much as Bankers and Brokers have 
been able to do. 

I am now all alone. Inda & Bettie left for N. York the middle of last month, 
where they will spend the winter with Mrs Kirkland^ and the Anthonys. Every- 
thing is so dull about here in the winter season, I cheerfully parted from them 
that they might have opportunities for pleasure and improvement. Their 
situation is a very eligible one for the best literary society. Sidney went on with 
them but staid only a short time. 

I have never learnt yet whether your son, the Professor, has left you on his 
contemplated European trip. Dr. Rose and his oldest son. Garland, and Mrs 
Rose have been in here this winter. They travelled in much for the benefit of 
Mrs Rose's health, which for a long time has been critical." They spoke of great 
respect of your son. And among other things relating to your self, they said that 
the Temperance cause in your state owed more to your exertions than that of any 
one else. 

Last month was uniformly cold. We filled our Ice house the 6th of December. 
But for two weeks past the weather has been moderate, not freezing at all. Corn 
is selling at a, Dollar the Bushel and Wheat at $1.80. No one are feeding 
Beeves. 

Timothy reached home the last of December and every one said they have not 
for many years seen him look better. He says he has a good Tenant by the name 
of Smith, a much more agreeable man. Timothy promises to make me a days visit 
this winter. You will be surprised when I tell you he has not been here, though 
within 12 miles, for two years, but I am very particular to visit and pay all respect 
to him. 

In Politicks there will be some stir at the spring Election in May, when 
a Governor, &c., a legislature, & members of Congress are to be elected. The 
Know Nothings are spreading like wild fire and may overwhelm the regular 
Democratick nominations.^ The Whigs fall in with them and many, very many, 
Democrats are tired ivahing and will try this new chance. Sidney is the leader of 
the order in this county. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 252 

Give my best respects to Michael, Fanny, and all, and believe me, as ever, your 
Brother & sincere Friend, 

E Fletcher 

This was undoubtedly Mrs. Caroline M. Stansbury Kirkland (1801—64), 3" author of some renown at 
this time. Among her friends were many prominent literary figures. A copy of her book, Holidays Abroad 
(1849) is in the Fletcher-Williams collection in the Sweet Briar College library (see Appendix X). 

"Mrs. Gustavus Rose, the former Ann Garland, died in 1S56 (Cabell, op. cit., p. 163). ^ The Know- 

Nothings, or American Party, emerged from a "secret, oath-bound organization, of whose name, nature, and 
objects nothing was told even to its members until they had reached its highest degrees. . . . [This] gave 
the society its popular name." Nativism, as exemplified in this party which appeared in 1852, had its political 
origins in New York almost 20 years earlier, and gathered many adherents in the late 1840s during the 
great influx of European immigrants. Militantly nationalistic and appealing to anti-foreign sentiments, the 
Know-Nothings carried nine state elections in 1855, and even had a presidential candidate the following 
year {The Netv Lamed History [Springfield, Mass., 1924], X, 8793). 



Sweetbrier 
April 15, 1855 
Dear Brother, 

I owe you a reply to your last and though I have nothing of Interest to 
communicate, I will write a few lines to let you know I am well and everything 
going on as usual. We have passed through a long and cold winter and for a day 
or two have had something like spring weather. The season in Virginia is three or 
four weeks later than usual. Peach Trees are just in full bloom and the cherries 
are beginning to open their flowery blossoms. Tomorrow we think of beginning 
to plant corn. There is an unusual scarcity of every thing as feed for man and 
beast. Any price could be got for cattle feed. Corn is worth a dollar the Bushel 
and Wheat $2.25 to $2.50. 

Inda & Betty returned from N York about the 25th ult. Brother Timothy has 
spent a good winter with now and then a little complaint of Rheumatism. The 
Know Nothings mustered so strong as to leave him out of the City Magistracy at 
the recent Election, an office which he has held for several years and which 
afforded some little occupation to help pass away idle time.^ He says he will go on 
North early in the season this year. Our State Election is exciting great interest 
among the people and there will probably be great change made both for 
Congress and State Legislature. The 4th Thursday in May is the Election. 

I suppose from your new Bank Charter of the last Legislature, your old state 
Bank will expire with the limit of its Charter." 

Do you hear from your son who proposed going to Europe last fall.'' Or has he 
actually gone.? I have never yet been informed of his departure. When you 
receive my [last.? ] annual Dividends this spring, pay to Sister Fanny Fifty 
dollars. Lucy writes me she will be with you in next month. For [me.? ] I 
contemplate no Trip abroad this year. 

With a deep anxiety for the happiness and welfare of you and your family and 



PART II: 1830-1858 253 

all our kin around you, I will subscribe myself once more your affectionate 
Brother, 

E Fletcher 

^ After nine successive terms, Timothy was not reelected to the council in Lynchburg. ^ The State 

Bank of Indiana, of which Calvin was a director, was operating under a 25-year charter, which expired 
Jan. I, 1S57 (Dunn, op. cit., I, 350). 



Sweetbrier 
June 18, 1855 
Dear Brother, 

Your long delayed letter was at length recvd, covering a check for some $455 
in full for Dividends on Indiana Bank stock up to that time. The Dividend was 
much larger than I had anticipated, considering the late severe financial 
difficulties. 

I regretted that you had become fashionable in reducing your letter to half a 
sheet. If you knew the pleasure your usual long letters have afforded me for 
many years back, I think you will return again to the "Old Settler" custom. The 
Paper by the last Mail containing your Old S elder celebration was very 
interesting. You must have enjoyed the affair much. 

You have sister Lucy with you and I am pleased to hear it. She will be of great 
service to you in helping to entertain your Literary and clerical company, for I 
presume you hardly find time from your numerous acquaintances and strangers 
of those descriptions to pay that attention to them which they generally think 
they deserve. 

Timothy started out last Friday week for Vermont and is no doubt now 
enjoying himself at the Old Mansion. But there, as everywhere else, it has 
probably been a cold and backward spring. Here we have had but few warm days 
and little moist and genial weather. The crops are not promising. Wheat will be a 
light crop and so will oats, and corn will no doubt have to contend — if not with 
drought, last years enemy — the Chinch bug. 

In speaking of Lucy's being with you, I think you enjoy a great priviledge of 
having many of your Brothers and Sisters with you. It would give me great 
pleasure to have your opportunity of being with them. I many times feel quite 
lonely in this respect. 

We shall probably spend the summer mostly at home, may take short 
excursions on our new Tennessee Rail Road which is finished some 140 miles. 
The girls spend about half their time in Lynchburg, but I have plenty of little 
domestic matters to occupy the time and prevent my being lonesome. Tell Lucy I 
received her kind letter before she left for Indiana and she must in her leisure 
write me a long communication. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 254 

Give my best respects to Michael and Stoughton and all and receive for 
yourself the continued assurance that this is from your affectionate Brother, 

E Fletcher 



Sweetbrier, 
Sept. 5, 1855 
Dear Brother, 

Your last letter has been received in which you say, and seem to congratulate 
yourself on it, that you have resigned and freed yourself from public life and 
are happy in being a private citizen and having no ones cares and business on 
your shoulders but your own.^ This is a situation which pleases me, but whether 
it will prove so to you, time will show. Your temperement, in some respects, 
is variant from mine. You are probably by nature more social and not altogether 
of that retiring turn. 

You have from an early period mixed busily in the varied active pursuits of 
life, always having many warm, attached friends, and promoted to stations of 
honor and trust and had the gratification to receive the commendation of all in 
the performance of them. Now if private, more profitable to you and equally 
active employments, occupy your time and mind, with a little mixture of a few 
charitable Hobbies — Religion, Temperance, Abolitionism, Education^ — all most 
praiseworthy and commendable, you may no doubt be satisfied like myself. Your 
ability for usefulness is too great for the public to permit that, and your own 
social, benevolent disposition will not suffer you to lay back from doing good to 
society and your fellowmen. I do not speak of Hobbies in an offensive way but 
rather as great enthusiasm with you in what you deem most desirable objects for 
the Happiness of mankind. 

You are not, I suppose, yet relieved from the superintendence of your Bank. 
When will the Institution be closed? Do you still go on to discount and make 
loans? When will the capital be returned to the stock holders? 

I was glad to hear that you had visited once more our old homestead. Timothy 
has indulged the humor this summer of not writing to us. He writes, however, to 
his Friends in Lynchburg. I still continue to write him. We have had, as you no 
doubt have, much wet weather, too much even for the corn crop, but a tolerable 
one will be made. 

Mrs. William Crawford with her second son have been with us for some time 
and will remain till Oct. This young man was unwell with Chills & Fever which 
seem to prevail In Washington. He is a clerk in one of the Departments, which 
Clerkship with his F [ ? ] enables the Family to get along very well. Sidney, the 
Boy that was once with you, is now in Washington acting as a substitute for [ ? ] 
till his return, very anxious to get again into the Rail Road business. 

It is very pleasant for me to hear from you often, and you will now have new 



PART II: 1830-1858 255 

things to communicate in telling me how you get along in your new employ- 
ments, for I am sure you will continue to live an active live. 

With respects to all, I subscribe myself once more your affectionate Brother, 

E Fletcher 

When I had written thus far, yours of 28th ult. was brought from the Post 
OfSce, propounding some fresh propositions to which you request a reply. 

First : as to your making a permanent change in your social condition. In reply 
to this I would say, change it. I think it is your destiny and I think it will be for 
}'our pleasure and happiness. In this your Temperament is different from mine. I 
know of no inducement upon earth that could persuade me to such a step. But in 
making this change, make moderate calculations. Do not expect, with all your 
circumspection, to find a second any way comparable to the first. 

Second: as to a future Family meeting. That I think, upon further reflection 
may take place, say next year or the succeeding one if we are spared to [see.'' ] 
these times, in either of two ways : in the summer without any collaterals or 
Johny Holts or Byron Williams^ to annoy our Brother who has charge of the old 
Mansion — simply the Sisters and Brothers with any new married wife; or we 
might get permission to occupy the premises during the winter, when we could 
have a general and merry gathering of the clans. It would more please me to 
meet in Vermont during the winter than the summer. 

Third: as to Fannys purchase. I will pay, first of July next, any proportion of 
said purchase that you and Stoughton may think proper to assess me with. 

Fourth: as to uniting in Bank transactions. I should have no fear to venture 
$20,000 or $25,000 in a concern where you and Stoughton could have a 
controlling influence, but of this from the distant period when your present 
Charter expires we will have sufficient time to canvass and talk about hereafter. 

Farewell! 

^ Calvin was a man of great energy and many Interests. President of the Indianapolis, Pittsburgh & 
Cleveland Railroad In 1854, he declined to act as director or president the next year, according to his diary. 
-In the summer of 1855, Calvin recorded In his diary that he was still a school trustee, president of the 
state Temperance Committee, and active in the Colonization Society. ^ Probably Louisa Fletcher Holt's 

son (see letter of Oct. 10, 1853, n.5) and Stephen Williams' son, Byron, b. Sept. 4, 1847. 



Amherst County 
Nov. 27, 1855 
Dear Brother, 

Yours of the 19th instant has just come to hand and it gave me such pleasure 
once more to hear of your health and prosperity, and particularly that you had 
made yourself happy in taking a new Partner to share with you the cares and 
troubles of life.^ I cheerfully salute her as a sister and hope I shall ere long have 
the pleasure of a personal interview. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 256 

I have been careless in not earlier replying to yours of Sept. 23d. In my letter 
written a few days previously to receiving that, I replied to the affair of the 
Purchase of a house for Sister Fanny mentioned by you in a previous Letter.' If 
you will refer to that, you will see that I approved of the purchase with the 
understanding that you was not to call on me for my share till next summer, 
hoping it would not be inconvenient for you and Stoughton to arrange the matter 
till that time. Give me what proportion you think proper for me to pay at that 
time and I will cheerfully discharge it. It will afford me sincere gratification if 
the arrangement made for Sister Fanny contents her and makes her few 
remaining days upon earth pass off pleasantly. 

I received a friendly Letter from Sister Lucy a few days ago, giving me a short 
sketch of her trip to Indianapolis. She gives a most flattering account of your 
prosperity and that of the others of our relatives at Indianapolis. 

Timothy has not yet returned but is expected early in next month. I think he 
has spent rather a lonely summer. 

I purpose taking a short trip to N York, leaving here the loth proximo, to 
accompany my Daughters who contemplate spending the winter there. So I shall 
be left alone. Sidney most always comes and spends the Sundays with me and 
with the cares that surrounds me and a fondness for reading, I doubt not, if 
spared life and health, the winter will glide along swiftly and pleasantly. 

We have here had a pleasant fall, with fine weather for seeding wheat, which 
the Farmers have improved by sowing a larger crop than usual, stimulated to do 
so by the present high price of $2.20 the Bushel. Hogs are scarce in this country 
and no droves of western pork yet reached here. $8 is the asking price. 

It always is cheering to my spirits to receive your letters and you must not 
think strange if I do not always reply promptly. You are the only one I write to 
often. 

With a wish to be affectionately remembered to your Wife and with kind 
regards for Michael, Stoughton, &c., I will once more bid you an affectionate 
adiue. 

Your Brother, 
E. Fletcher 

^ Calvin's marriage to Mrs. Kezlah Price Lister was recorded in his diary on Nov. 4, 1855. "This was 
apparently in Newark, where Fanny Fletcher Bliss died Sept. 4., 1872, according to the stone which marks 
her grave in Newark Cemetery. 



PART II: 1S30-1858 257 

Sweetbrier 
Dec. 20. 1855 
Dear Brother, 

Yours containing a check on N York for $577.85/100 for Dividends on 
Indiana Bank Stock for the last six months has been recvd. Your details of 
Family and other matters were quite interesting to me. I reached home from my 
Trip with the girls to N York last Friday the 14th, was absent from home Five 
days — two going, one staying, two returning. The morning of the 1 3th, when I 
left N.Y., it was snowing quite furiously but soon after reaching Philadelphia 
there were no signs of snow and here, they tell me, the day was quite pleasant. 
Except plowing our Corn land, which we have been at the last four or five weeks, 
and are most done. Our stiff clay lands are the better for plowing in the early 
winter, that the Frosts may melt and pulverize it. 

We are not doing much except preparing for a happy Christmas for our 
Servants. They have all to sell their crops, which consists principally of corn and 
it takes many wagon loads and each wants to go with it and lay in their finery and 
small comforts. Your Friends would many of them be surprised to see their 
return cargoes, many of the women with fine Black silk dresses, costing $ i o to 
$15, and some nice thing for every child. It gives me much pleasure to aid them 
in all these things, to make them comfortable. Those that have had bad luck with 
their crops or been improvident are assisted by Master. None fear that they will 
suffer or have any little want which will not be gratified. 

New corn has been selling at 70 cents the bushel ; clover seed, which you 
mention, is to sell high. It could not be purchased here for less than $ 10 the 
bushel. In Eastern Virginia there is never much saved. In the Valley the crop is a 
light one. Our Clover seed here generally comes from Tennessee or Ohio by the 
way of Baltimore. 

I do not think it an infirmity in you that you may be so constituted by nature to 
enjoy yourself in doing good by undertaking public employment. I think from 
your temperament, your mission was intended to be a different one from mine. 
You are constituted with a zeal for the welfare of mankind that renders you 
peculiarl}- fitted for public employment. I therefore thought that retirement 
would not make you altogether happy. You have gifts, which have not been 
given to me, and I think it wise in you to exercise these gifts for the purposes 
th [at] were intended. I know you are sincere and conscientious in all your 
enthusiasm and you have gained a reputation for disinterested and good acts 
which any man might envy. Still I have not gifts that would make me useful in 
many things like yourself. I was destined for an unobtrusive, retired life, the 
sphere of my usefulness to be more limited than }'ours. This was all I meant 
when I spoke of my fear that retirement from the busy bustle of the world might 
not be as congenial to you as to me. 

Our Legislature is now in session. Great anxiety is felt in different parts of the 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 258 

State as to their course about our internal improvements. But it is feared that 
nothing will be done for them. 

Give my best respects to your wife and all our Friends and receive the 
assurance that I remain your affectionate Brother, 

E Fletcher 

Timothy has not yet returned. 



Sweetbrier, Va. 
Feb. 12, 1856 
Dear Brother, 

I write you a few lines to tell you how much we have been pleased by the visit 
from your son Stoughton.^ He has made a very favorable impression upon us and 
if he be a fair specimen of the rest of your sons, you have reason to be proud of 
them and I am sure they will be a comfort and blessing to you. He left here last 
Sunday Evening for Lynchburg in company with Sidney and the next morning 
at 8 started on his north Eastern trip. 

We have had our share of inclement weather and snow this winter, such a 
winter as I do not think I have ever before experienced in this state. Winter is a 
time that we expect to do our [plowing? ] and much other outdoor farm work. 
But in this we have all been disappointed. Getting wood to make comfortable 
fires and feeding stock is all that could be done. 

My Daughters are still in N York and will remain there till the middle of 
March. Stoughton promised to call on them when he reaches N York. I have had 
good health, have been quite alone, and not exposed myself much in the cold 
weather. There has been no inducement to go out, as all business has been 
suspended. Stoughton has promised to make us another visit next summer, when 
he could view the country in a more favorable aspect. I wish \ou could let some of 
the others of your children come with him. Could not your daughter and her 
husband make us a visit? ^ It would be very gratifying to my Daughters to see 
them. 

I do not remember that I have written you since Timothys return. He was 
detained so late in making new arrangements. His Tenant proved a very 
worthless fellow and he had to get rid of him. He has now hired a man at $200 
and Susan^ is to superintend the domestic affairs. I think this is a good 
arrangement. He has been a mere slave to his tenants. 

Give my best respects to your wife, your children, and all, and believe me as 
ever your affectionate Brother, 

E Fletcher 

^Calvin's fifth son, then 24 years old. He attended Brown one year, 1852—^3. "According to Calvin's 

diary, his daughter Maria A. Fletcher and Cyrus C. Hines were married Nov. 21, 1855. ^ Susan was re- 

membered by Timothy in his will, drawn in Lynchburg July 8, 1864, with the following bequest: "I give to 



PART II: 1830-1858 259 

Susan Sargent of the State of Vermont if she be living at the time of my death, one Thousand Dollars in 
consideration of her services in attending to my father and mother In their old age." The will was proved 
Aug. 9, 1870 (Lynchburg Will Book, vol. E, 497). 



Amherst County, 
April 19, 1856 
Dear Brother, 

It is true, as you say in your last, that I am debted to you for two letters. I hope 
you will not mind my delinquency in this respect. It gives me so much pleasure to 
receive and read your free and easy, friendly, communicative letters, and to me 
writing is a thing I rather avoid and am apt to put off. 

For a week or two past, I have not been as well as usual — a rather an annoying 
complaint about the Bladder which is not uncommon for those advanced in age 
like myself. It will probably wear off in a short time. Good health prevails with 
all the rest of us. Timothy is quite well and seems to enjoy himself. It is a great 
pleasure to him, when the girls are in town, to make them many little presents of 
confectionery and other little things. At his last birthday, the lOth of March, 
when I went over to be with him on the occasion, he had two splendid cakes made 
and boxed up for them, to be kept till they return. He is very liberal and gives 
away much to his relations every year in this way. He seems not for several years 
to have had any idea of adding to his estate but to live and enjoy what he has. In 
this he is probably wise. 

My Daughters returned home the 20th of March, much pleased with their 
winters amusements and opportunities for improvement. They are quite busy in 
adding to many little improvements about the home here, which they love much, 
and it makes me quite happy to indulge them to make their time pass in our 
lonely retirement, fully-employed and of course quite satisfied. 

We have had quite a cold and dry spring, not untill a week or so past has there 
been any warm weather, but the last week or two the weather has been warm 
though excessively dry. All [the.' ] early fruit trees in full bloom, the forest 
begins to thicken up with its green foliage and the Birds are returning from their 
warm south retreat from our cold and inclement winter. We are now in the midst 
of planting corn. The spring has been so dry that the Wheat looks [thin? ] . 

Had you not better write Timothy upon the subject of meeting again at the 
Old Mansion.' I rather think there is something in these meetings which interest 
him, though of course they are troublesome and expensive to him. I do not know 
whether he would permit us to bear [any.-*] expense. Of course he must have the 
whole control and we are all to be subject to him. 

In my next Dividend on In. Bank stock, you will withdraw what you think 
right for me to pay on the House purchase for our sister Fanny. I hope she is 
comfortably fixed and is happy in having a home she can call her own. 

My Daughters join me in love and respect to you, not only you but to your 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 260 

new companion. It will afford us great pleasure to become personally acquainted 
with her and hope, whether we meet or not at the old Mansion, you will find it 
convenient to bring her with some of your younger children on a visit to us in 
Virginia. 

I deeply sympathize with Stoughton in his late bereavement.^ To Michael and 
Richardson and your Stoughton, remember me kindly and to the rest of your 
Family and my relations, give my best respects. 

Your affectionate Brother, 
E Fletcher 

^ Stoughton's second wife, Julia Bullard, whom he had married In 1844, died Mar. 29, 1856. 

Sweetbrier 
June 24, 1856 
Dear Brother, 

I have recvd your letters which have not been answered, the one enclosing my 
Dividends for the Last six months on Indiana Bank stock, and one two or three 
days ago which were extremely [welcome.? ] and the first ought to have been 
sooner answered. 

Brother Timothy has been gone some three weeks. Before starting he had an 
attack of disentery which was very severe upon him, having to call in a Doctor 
[and?] weakened him much and delayed his starting north sometime. I 
conversed with him about our meeting at the old Mansion this summer. He said 
he feared he would hardly be able to undergo the trouble of a general rally of us 
all this summer, but would like to see a few of us in a scattered way. He 
particularly mentioned you and your wife and Stoughton and as he saw me and 
my Daughters so often here, we might postpone our visit another year. Under 
these circumstances I concluded not to go on this season. Though it would give 
me the greatest pleasure to meet you all. 

I have noticed your remarks about the winding up of your [old.? ] Bank and 
your suggestions of setting up an independent Bank.^ You and Stoughton are 
better judges of these matters than I am, and I have so much confidence in your 
capacity to manage such an establishment that I should have no fear of uniting 
with you in It. You and Stoughton can talk it over and sketch a synopsis of a plan 
of such a Bank as would best meet your views and communicate it to me. If your 
plan of a Bank will require state stock for a basis, it will better suit me to furnish 
that kind of capital. What amount of capital would it be desirable to commence 
with.? The plan of having very few partners is a good one and would induce me 
more readily to engage in it. What will the stockholders of your present bank be 
[likely.? ] to receive per share for their stock in winding up.? 

We have not yet had much hot weather this season. Harvest hereabouts has 
been commenced a week. The crop is a thin and light one. The quality will be 



PART II: 1830-1858 261 

good, as the weather has been too dry to produce rust. We all have fine health. 
The girls, though they spent so long a time north, last winter, would have been 
pleased to have met you in ^'ermont this summer. 

Write me before you leave for the East. You must likewise write me when at 
the old Mansion. With icind regards to all, believe me as ever, your affectionate 
Brother, 

E Fletcher 

^ Calvin Fletcher and Thomas H. Sharpe established the Indianapolis Branch Banking Company. Opened 
Jan. 2, 1857, it later did business under the name of Fletcher and Sharpe (Dunn, op. cit., II, pp. 1082-84). 
According to another historian, this was two years before the expiration of the charter (Sulgrove, op. cit.y p. 

220). 

Sweetbrier, Amherst County, Va. 
July 28, 1856 
Dear Brother, 

Yours of loth instant has been received, and was happy to hear of your 
continued health and prosperity. I expected to have had the pleasure of receiving 
one from you dated at the old Mansion about this time and fear 
my determination has caused you to loose a pleasant trip North this summer. As 
it seemed best not to go at our usual time to meet you all, I think I will give it 
out altogether this year, with a hope, if we live, to meet you in Vermont next 
summer. 

I expect Stoughton & Timothy will enjoy themselves very much together at 
the old Farm. I have had but one letter from Tim since he left. He seemed in 
good health and enjoying himself. He loves the old Farm and there enjoys 
himself better than any where else. It is a great blessing to him to have such a 
place to spend a part of his time. He never seems very happy in Virginia. The 
new arrangement of having the Farm to himself is a good one. I quite disliked 
being there when a tenant was Master but think I could spend a short time there 
under the present management very pleasantly. 

As I alluded above, I shall not leave home this season, though a little respite 
and change from the round of occupations here would no doubt be useful to me. 
But there is more fatigue than pleasure in travelling in the heat and dust during 
the summer months, and little inducement to leave the house and shade and good 
spring water we have under the Mountains of Virginia, unless we go to as cool a 
place and stay a little longer than we have been accustomed to in our late 
meetings in Vermont, and when these have not quite so much excitement and 
bustle. 

As to the Banking scheme : as I said before, I should not fear trusting a limited 
capital in any institution that you would think safe, and at your leisure — if you 
think seriously of entering into the business — sketch a plan, amount of capital you 
would like to commence with, the probable expense of the management, &c., and 
from your experience the probable profits. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 262 

We have had some warm weather, but pleasant enough as to that, if we could 
have had more rain. We have need of our good old-fashioned rains. The earth is 
dry, the streams are low, and though occasionally rapid showers, none to saturate 
the earth to any depth. But we must scuffle along — Life is but a scuffle at best — and 
content ourselves with the thousand blessings we enjoy. I am not over anxious 
about the things of this world. To take care of what Providence has cast to my lot 
is my duty, but I do not worry or fatigue myself much in doing this. 
With love to Michael and all, I remain your affectionate Brother, 

E Fletcher 



Sweetbrier, Amherst County, Va. 
Sept. 30, '56 
Dear Brother, 

Your letter, as you left for the East, was received and also the one you so 

kindly wrote me after your return reached me in due time. You must not mind 
my want of promptness in replying. Talking is a pleasure to you and I hope 
writing not. so irksome as it is to me. Your life is an active one amid the bustle and 
turmoil of business and always have something interesting to communicate. Mine 
a retired, solitary one, without variety and change, and my letters would partake 
of the want of novelty and varied incidents that would [not? ] repay you the 
reading. You must always calculate to write two letters to my one and think it 
great partiality when I assure you that you receive from me more of a purely 
friendly kind than any one else. 

Since your return, Lucy has written me giving an account of your and your 
wife's visit at New Ark. She was greatly pleased with your wife and seemed very 
much delighted with your visit, and said you had all agreed to meet at the Old 
Mansion next summer. I shall like to see you all next summer, if life and health 
be spared, and shall make an effort to do so. My health is at present good and all 
about me have enjoyed uninterrupted good health, for which I feel thankful. 

Our season has not been a very propitious one for crops — too dry. I have rarely 
seen so indifferent a crop of corn. There will be very few cattle fed this fall in any 
part of the state. The south western part, which is the great stock country, has 
suffered more than this. Cattle are not in as much demand as they have been for 
the last two years. We are now in the midst of seeding wheat. Many are getting 
Wheat Drills and using the different fertilizers and the county much improving. 
Our [land.'' ] doubled in prices within the last few years. 

We hear from Timothy occasionally and I think he has passed a very pleasant 
summer. Having the superintendence of the Farm has no doubt given 
employment that made his time pass more pleasantly. Inda and Bettie have been 
with me much of the summer, without taking any long excursion, but will soon be 



PART II: 1830-1858 263 

preparing for another sojourn during the winter with Mrs Kirkland in New 
York. 

Your son Stoughton gave us little more than half a promise when here in the 
deep snow last winter that he would come again in the summer when he could 
better discern the nakedness of our land. We were all so much pleased with him 
that it would have been very gratifying for us to have him make another and 
longer visit. 

Last week we were visited by a frost which has destroyed much Tobacco and 
other late vegetables, unusually early for this county. We never calculate for 
killing frost till about the middle of October. 

I am pleased to hear of Brother Stoughton's good health and that Michael is 
spending his few remaining days so pleasantly. As he will never probably leave 
home, I shall, if we live, feel tempted one of these days to visit him and see him 
once more before a final separation and it would give me so much pleasure to see 
you all in your prosperity. 

Give my love to all, and best respects to your wife. Write every spare 
opportunity. Do not wait for me, your letters are always most welcome. 

Your affectionate Brother, 
E Fletcher 



Sweetbrier, Amherst Co., Va. 
Nov. 30, '56 
Dear Brother, 

Your two letters have been recevd. The last by the last mail containing a check 
for Indianapolis Bank Dividends, $51 8.56 for the last six months. It gave me 
pleasure to learn that you were all well and prosperous & that your son 
Stoughton had made himself happy by taking a companion for life.^ You have a 
prospect that \'our progeny will make your name common and familiar and 
respected throughout your state and the world at large. It must be very 
gratifying, too, that among so many, all are by nature perfect in body with minds 
above the common order and an energy and disposition to make themselves 
useful and highly respected citizens. 

We all continue to enjoy good health among our numerous family, have not 
had a Physician called in for the last two years. Our Fall has been a pleasant one, 
enabling us to finish the last crop, and for some three weeks been plowing and 
preparing for our next summers corn crop. Our stiff clay lands are much 
benefitted by being turned up in the Fall and early Winter that the Frosts may 
ameliorate and pulverize them. 

I received a letter from Timothy a few days ago. He will return south in some 
two weeks, says he has been making improvements in some of the out buildings at 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 264 

the old Farm, and laid down Lead pipes to bring water to the house and barn 
from the Orchard above the Ledge. I do not myself see the improvement or 
necessity of such expense, for it must have been quite expensive to bring water 
such a distance in lead pipes. 

We have had a pleasant Fall and the weather is now quite agreeable. 

My Daughters with Sidney talk of spending the winter in the West India 
Islands. The [y ] will start early in January and probably return by N. Orleans, 
up the River and, if so, will give you a call perhaps in March. I shall feel very 
anxious to meet you at some point next summer. I wish to have long 
conversations with you. It seems that when we met last, from the crowd and your 
sickness, I had little opportunity to commune with you. 

Miles, I suppose, is in the west, making arrangements for the removal of his 
Family, whom, I fear are reduced to uncomfortable circumstances. How such a 
thing could happen to one so careful, so frugal, so industrious, with so intelligent 
and good a mind for business, is a mystery to me. 

As to my stock in your Bank, let it remain till the final winding up. It cannot be 
better taken care of than under your control. The dividend you sent was quite 
satisfactory. 

With kind respects to your wife and children and with heartfelt feelings of 
attachment and affection for you and Michael and Stoughton, I subscribe myself 
your Brother, 

E Fletcher 

* Stoughton married Ruth Elizabeth Barrows of Augusta, Me., in Nov. 1856 (Dunn, op. cit., II, 647). 



Sweetbrier, Virginia 
Feb. 5, 1857 
Dear Brother, 

I enclose a Letter to Sidney who with his Sisters will, if they have good luck, 
be with you shortly. They wrote me from Havanna that they would leave there 
the I St instant for N. Orleans, where they intended staying a few days. They will 
probably stop in Louisville a day or so and then on for Indianapolis. 

Your last has been received with pleasure. I was not disappointed in your 
making the arrangement to remain longer in public business and I hope you will 
not have cause to regret it.^ I have spent my winter retired here at home, which is 
the most agreeable way I can spend my time. Still if I could enjoy your privilege 
of meeting with Brothers once a week, it would add much to my happiness. 

We have had another cold winter, with the exception of two days the 1 8th and 
1 9th of January, perhaps not so far as bad a winter as last. There has not been so 
much snow as last winter and from present appearances the winter may end 
sooner. The weather is now mild and the snow disappearing. 



PART 11: 1830-185S 265 

Timothy complains of achs and Pains. I have uninterrupted good health, and 
hoping you are all enjoying the same, will close this short epistle. 

E Fletcher 

^ On Jan. 2, Calvin recorded In his diary that he had been elected a trustee and president of the county 
library board at a meeting held that day. 



Sweetbrier, Am. County, Va. 
May 2, 1857 
Dear Brother, 

It is sometime since I had the pleasure of receiving a line from you. But 
perhaps it is my fault, as I have never yet answered your last. I have had nothing 
new to communicate, neither have I now, but to tell you that I am still enjoying 
perfect health, and that we here have shared with the general country in having 
experienced a most cold and backward spring, having just finished planting corn. 
Today is almost the only springlike day of the season. The early fruit has been 
destroyed. There will probablv be some cherries and Apples. Great complaints 
are made about the Wheat, but there are some good crops in the neighborhood. I 
think mine looks better than last spring at this time. 

I do not remember that I have written you since my children made you a visit. 
They were highly pleased with their reception and much gratified to find their 
relations occupying so eligible a position in society and so prosperous and well to 
do. Their representations of your [wife.? ] were highly flattering. 

Timothy is quite well, making his preparations for his northern summer. 
Shipped his Flour and his hams and I think would be gratified if we could visit 
him at the Old Mansion this summer. I regretted to hear of Stoughtons 
indisposition. It seems a pity that one so much a man of business could not be 
blessed with a better constitution and health. 

With the kindest respects to your Family, I once more subscribe myself, your 
affectionate Brother, 

E Fletcher 



Sweetbrier 
May 27, 1857 
Dear Brother, 

Yours has been received and gave me the usual pleasure to learn that you were 
all well and particularly that Stoughton, whom from representations I found was 
in great danger, was so far recovered as to attend to business. I have complied 
with your suggestion and sent to Stoughton & Richardson the certificates of my 
Bank stock and the Blank Ret. I presume it will be well for them to put and keep 
it on deposit on their usual rates till all is paid up and in the mean time it can 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 266 

be seen what will be best to do with it. What interest is commonly allowed in 
your savings and Deposit Banks? 

Money matters in this country are rather easy. For several years past the 
Farmers have done well with their crops. Wheat, Tobacco and corn have sold 
well and what for them is better, there has been no trading or speculating among 
them, and more industry and frugality than formerly. A disposition to improve 
their lands and homes and to be contented. In lower Virginia up to the 
mountains, there is rarely a removal or any wish to remove. In Western Virginia 
for the last years there is more restlessness and considerable emigration. 

Timothy started this morning for Vermont, expecting to reach the old 
mansion Saturday next. I went over to Lynchburg a few days ago to see him 
before he left. He is quite well, of most too full a habit, and I think the exercise 
on the old Farm and frugal living will be better for him than Lynchburg where 
he takes little interest and has no business to occupy his mind or time. It will be 
very pleasing to me to take a trip there in July or August, if I can make up a 
resolution to start. But to meet you and your wife there will be an additional 
inducement to go. I tell Inda and Bettie if we will go directly through, without 
calling and stopping in the cities, I will go with them. I hate very much the 
money annoyances and confusion attendant on the transfers and Hotels of the 
cities. I rather think I will go but will not now say certain. Timothy expects 
Stoughton and his children there and would be glad to see you & your wife and 
seemed quite anxious for me to come on. But I like my home, my own room, and 
my own bed so much it requires some resolution to leave. I even dread going to 
Lynchburg and many times, when I ought to go on business, will put it off from 
day to day and week to week, till compelled to start. Timothy sent a good supply 
of Flour and hams as usual and I know if we could meet there would enjoy 
ourselves very much. 

The weather has become pleasant and a little summerlike. Our stock is sent to 
the Mountain Pasture, our crops look pretty well, are [weeding.? ] corn, have 
good showers, and everything looks prosperous and cheerful. Sell corn at $ i .20 
the Bushel and have hay and Fodder which sells readily at $ i .50 the hundred. 
These things were never in greater [demand? ] . 

With respects to all, your Brother, 

E Fletcher 



PART II: 1830-1858 267 

Sweetbrier, Am. Co., Va. 
Sept. 13, '57 
Dear Brother, 

I was truly pleased to receive your last letter, to learn your continued good 
health and prosperity. You have been so kind in writing often that I am in the 
expectation always of receiving a letter from you and when a long time elapses 
without getting one, I begin to fear that sickness or accident prevent it. 

I would have been pleased to have been with you alone at the old Mansion the 
past summer, but do not entertain your gloomy thought that your or my last visit 
is made there. If no body would tell me that I was old and upon my last legs, or 
no warning circumstance around to indicate it, my feelings and spirit would not 
induce me to think it. They are as buoyant and ardent as many years past. Still a 
small matter will sometimes cripple and prostrate our bodies and our energies, 
and when of mv age that occurs, it is hard like one young to recuperate. Still I 
look forward with a cheering hope to meet you at the old Mansion next summer 
and hope that Timothy will be there to entertain us, for it would look lonesome 
without him and though he talks the other way, if we humble ourselves to him 
and feel under great obligation for his kindness, there is no one that takes more 
pleasure to see us and make us welcome. 

My health has continued good, the season for crops has been favorable, and all 
my affairs generally prosperous. Inda and Bettie have remained at home with 
me, without taking any long excursion, and seem contented and cheerful. We 
have all our ground prepared for sowing wheat and I shall go at it next. We are 
now carrying the last crop to Lynchburg, where I store it or sell there, or send on 
to Richmond. But prices now [rule.'' ] low and unsettled, no one wanting to buy, 
and I shall wait till things are more settled. Sidney is well and energetic on his 
farm as ever, has just brought down his cattle from the mountain pasture, has 
from 70 to 100 of our own raising to sell, calculates to get about $35 average. I 
was glad to hear that Stoughton had gone to Vermont. It will cheer up Timothy 
some to have him with him. 

Give my respects to Michael and all. Write often. 

Your Brother, 
E Fletcher 



Sweetbriar 
Nov. 12, 1857 
Dear Brother, 

Yours of the 5th inst. has been reed today. At the same time one was recvd 
from Susan, stating that Brother Timothy was quite unwell, had not left his 
room for a week. His head was affected, somewhat [swollen? ] and a discharge 
from one ear. Such symptoms are unfavorable for one of his age with such full 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 268 

habits and, I fear, not great purity of Blood. He has written but seldom this 
summer. The last was a mere excuse, that he had not been able to write for some 
time on account of a disabled hand or wrist. I sincerely hope he may soon recover 
and be with us here this winter. 

From a letter lately recvd from Richeson, I learnt you was in N.Y. and 
I waited to hear from you after your return. I am glad you pass through these 
troublesome times without loss and will wind up your Bank satisfactory 
to all parties. I am much pleased to hear of your ample provision for a hard 
winter and wish I could be with you to partake of some of your good and 
substantial things. I should be sure to act the invalid and draw upon your wifes 
store of good domestic wine. As for myself I make but little provision, and my 
numerous family of domestics have little fear of want, so long as Master lives 
they feel safe. But Inda and Bettie, for a wonder, have concluded to stay with me 
during the winter and, like you, are looking about for a good winter supply. 
Have sent to Philadelphia for a Barrel of nice [ r ] Buckwheat Flour, and nice 
syrup &c &c. 

Our Apples this year are a failure and peaches and plums and damsons failed. 
There were many summer apples but few fit to put up for winter. We have 
finished seeding our wheat. The Corn will soon be housed, a fine crop, and next 
week the Teams will start ploughing for the next crop of Corn. I have delivered 
and sold my wheat at $1.25, which is now the price in Lynchburg. Corn, now, is 
worth joctsthe Bushel. My last years crop was sold for a $1.20 the Bushel. 

I feel much solicitude about Timothy. Susan promised to write soon again. I 
hope she will have good news to communicate. Did you see in the Nat. 
Intelligencer the Letters of Charles Lanman from the White Mountains, about 
the 1 0th of Sept., describing Timothy as an F.F.V. of Vermont, now of Virginia, 
and the order he keeps of not permitting his kin at their reunions at the Old 
Mansion to talk oi Abolithn, Religion, or Politics? 

In what could I invest my little Fund in Indianapolis to the best advantage in 
your State? 

Write often, and with respects to all, I subscribe myself your affectionate 
Brother, 



To Calvin Fletcher and Relatives from Sidney Fletcher 



E Fletcher 



Sweetbrier 
Feb. 15, 1858 



Dear Uncle, 

It is my painfull duty to announce to you the death of our respected Father. 
To you who knew his many virtues, tis needless for me to recount them and you 
can fully appreciate the great loss we have experienced. We recognize in it the 



PART II: 1830-1858 269 

hand of God and bow submissively to his omnipotent and all wise decrees. 

His illness was short. Ten days previous his death he went to Lynchburg on 
business. The day of his returne was stormy and cold. He had not proceded on his 
way more than a mile or two when he was taken with a congestion of the 
Stomach. The nervous system at the same time receiving a severe shock, he 
stopped at a Farm house and received every attention that Kindness and medical 
skill could administer. Indy and I hastened to his bed-side as soon as the news 
reached us. After two days we thought him well enough to move him to his much 
loved home, where we safely brought him and had the inexpressive pleasure of 
seeing him day by day gathering strength and as we thought health. 

On the morning of the 13, after having passed a night of pleasant sleep — as he 
expressed it, the most refreshing that he had had since his illness — he arose, 
dressed himself, ate his morning meal, gave directions about the affairs of 
the Farm, put on his hat, visited his cellar, and on his returne prepared to shave. 
He prepared his razors, arranged his glass, and proceded to shave, which he had 
nearly done when my sister was attracted by a singular noise, approached him, 
called him, received his head in her arms, and his spirit winged it's way without a 
groan to the happy land of good and just men. 

In our Sorrow we send you our love, and if you have lost a Kind Brother, what 
must our loss be, in a devoted Father — who had but one object in life. To make 
us happy. 

We shall be happy to continue the correspondence that has heretofore existed 
between the two houses, and believe us to be, 

yours affectionately, 
Sidney Fletcher 



To Calvin Fletcher from Lucy Fletcher Williams 

Clyde, [N.Y.]^ 
Feb. 28th, 1858 
My dear brother Calvin, 

I received a letter from you a few days since containing the sad and unexpected 
tidings that our respected Brother Elijah was dead; that he had seen the last of 
earth and we should see his face no more. I was greatly shocked to hear it, more 
than I should have been to have heard the death of any member of our family, 
for I had always thought that Brother Elijah would live to great old age; I knew 
that he was wisely temperate in all his habits and I thought he possessed the 
physical constitution of his mother and her family and that he had yet many 
years to live and perhaps outlive us all, but the Judge of all the earth who always 
does right has ordered it otherwise. To us, to all his sorrowing Brothers and 
Sisters, his death is a great loss, to his children and domestics irreparible. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 270 

And poor Brother Timothy (poor in every sense), I have received a few lines 
from him, he wrote how sick he had been that all the hair came off his head, and 
he now had a bad sore on one of his ankles. Had he sent for me, I should have 
gone to him, and nothing but sickness will prevent me from visiting our paternal 
home this coming summer but I have many fears that it may be too late! 

Sister Fanny has good health, is very happy in her own home, and is quite 
proud and independent. She says she would not exchange her home for any other 
she ever had, long may she enjoy it. 

Please to remember me to Sister F, your children, Brother Michael, and 
Stoughton, and all other nephews and nieces. Does Mrs Fletcher go east next 
summer? We shall be happy to see her, or any of you. 

Your affectionate sister, 
L F Williams 

P.S. Have you learned what caused Brother Elijah's death.? Was there an 
examination after death? I should be glad to write a letter of condollense to those 
bereaved children but they were so unwilling to have any thing said about their 
mother, I fear I should rather incur their displeasure than it would be kindly 
recevd. 

I am very anxious to learn what distroyd life so sudenly in our Brother. I fear 
he had no warning, no time to set his house in order. How iminent necessary that 
every one should be ready, be prepared to render up our account with joy when 
called for, for whether ready or not we must go, no excuse on our part will cause a 
delay. You say Brother Michael is feeble,^ the old must die. I hope he will realise 
that we have all gone out of the way. The best of us have not always walkd in the 
commandments of our Heavenly Father, and that we must be sorry for our sins 
and turn unto Him who will abundantly pardon, for He has no pleasure in the 
death of the wicked. 

^ For a time after her husband's death In 1850, Mrs. Williams lived In Clyde with her daughter, Lucy, 
who married Samuel S. Morley, the leading hardware merchant and sometime postmaster of Clyde. After 
Mrs. Morley's death, Mrs. Williams returned to Newark, where she died in 1888 (Colvin, op. cit., p. 19). 
^ Michael died Aug. 13, 1859, according to Calvin's diary. 



To Calvin Fletcher from Indiana Fletcher 

Sweet Briar^ 
March 15th, '58 
My dear Uncle, 

I must no longer delay, the sad duty of acquainting you with the particulars of 
the brief illness, & last days, of my beloved departed Father. The fearful ordeal, 
through which I have been called to pass, has so shaken my being to its utmost 
foundation, that I have been incapable of attending, even to the slightest duties 



PART II: 1830-1858 271 

of my daily life. Thinking it may be a melancholy pleasure for you to hear from 
me, I wnll not shrink from recalling what seems even now to me like a mournful 
dream, Alas! but a fearful truth to which I must be reconciled. 

On the 30th of Jan. my Father left me for Lynchburg. When he rode away, it 
was a mild summerlike afternoon, but the next morning the weather changed 
very cold, raining, & severe wind. He transacted his business as usual & left for 
this place. About a mile from town, the storm increased, & he was suddenly taken 
very ill, disliking to stop at a Strangers house, he succeeded by fast riding, in 
reaching the Mulberr)' Farm, three miles distant from Lynchburg. The kind- 
hearted people at once applied hot bricks to his hands & feet, & other simple 
remedies they knew of, but for four or five hours, not the least circulation or 
movement could be produced. Not growing better, he at last consented to send 
for a Physician, who arrived about 1 1 o'clock that night, & at once relieved 
him. 

I did not receive intelligence of his sickness until the next day, at i o' clock. 
In two hours, I was with him, having dispatched a messenger for Sidney, who 
was then nine miles from Tusculum. He reached us that night at 8 o'clock. 
Papa was better, although yet very ill, & Thursday I brought him in the Carriage 
to Sweet Briar, he was so anxious to be once more at this loved spot, that the 
fatigues of the ride were soon forgotten, & after Dr. Davis had made two visits, & 
given some mild medicines, which removed the oppression about the heart, which 
he at first so much complained of, he improved every day. The last week, he 
suffered no pain, whatsoever, was very cheerful, & remarked that he was afraid 
he would get well too soon, & that we would not think he had been sick. 

We sat up ever)' night, only however to attend to his slightest wants, & to be 
with him when he awoke, for there was such daily improvement we had but one 
thought, of joy and gratitude for his rapid recovery. On the i ith & 12th, he was 
up most of the time, wrote several notes on business, read the papers, & talked in 
his usual bright, cheering way. I remained with him Friday night until J/2 
past 3 o'clock, he rested remarkably well, far better than any night during his 
illness. On Saturday Morn., the 13th, he arose at his usual hour, dressed himself, 
partook of his accustomed breakfast, gave orders to the servants for their days 
work, &c. Sidney had gone to visit a distant part of the plantation, whilst I 
remained in his room. He remarked, that he wished to accustom himself 
gradually, to the cold, before going out, & asked for the keys, to go down in the 
Cellar. I suggested that it might be too chilly, but he thought not, & went, 
doubtless to ascertain what groceries were necessary for the Servant portion of 
our family, for he had not been able to think of their wants, during his illness. 

On returning from the Cellar, he sat with me at the fire, whilst I read to him 
a paper I was holding at the time. We commented as usual upon what had been 
read, & after talking a little while, he said he would shave & that I must give him 
the wine whey (which he took frequently) quite hot & strong, when he should 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 272 

finish. After I assisted in preparing his utensils, he commenced shaving, whilst I 
took up a journal near by, & read. After an interval of about ten minutes, my 
attention was drawn by an unusual long breath & as I looked up I saw his head 
drooping. I instantly arose & held him in my arms, calling him, calling Sidney & 
the Servants. As I can remember, they all came in, camphor &c. was applied, but 
nothing availed & in a moment, without a sigh, he raised his eyes, beaming with 
ineffable love, to me, & like one "who lies down to pleasant dreams," breathed his 
last, in my arms! 

Language cannot unveil such grief as mine. The revelations of an Eternal 
World alone can manifest to my broken, crushed heart, the inscrutable wisdom, 
of a Supreme Being, in sending this awful Visitation. It can only be 
comprehended in that bright Hereafter, where we shall meet those we love, who 
are now at peace forever! 

I had, like those around me, never thought his illness dangerous, for my dear 
Uncle, the [idea? ] of losing my Father seemed only possible, with my death, for 
my life was bound up in his existence, God alone knew how I loved him, or he 
would not have taken him from me! 

They have told me since, that the night Sidney reached the Silk Farm, Papa 
talked with him about his wishes after death, & how he desired the last sad rites 
to be performed at his grave. Everything as far as practicable was conducted in 
that silent, simple manner he requested. The bier was borne by four of his 
favorite Servants, whilst all from the neighboring plantations & those at a greater 
distance, hastened as soon as tidings reached them & were here to join that 
humble procession, wending its way, to the chosen spot where their beloved 
Master & friend was to be laid. 

It was a sad and beautiful sight, one which would have moved the heart of a 
most indifferent beholder, to have seen those strong, robust men, bowed with 
grief, as they clustered around all that remained of their lost Protector, slowly 
ascending the Grave Yard Hill, with solemn tread over the unbroken snows of 
that winter evening! 

The funeral service was read, the last prayer offered, & the grave closed over 
all, closed over my heart, forever! It has cost me many tears to write this, 
although my thoughts dwell ever in the Past, treasuring up the wise counsel, 
wishes & noble examples of a beloved Father. I feel priviledged and blessed also 
to have been near him, during his last days, on earth, & Alas! if it must have been, 
to have received his last mute adieu! But when I look around & view this lovely 
home,^ these fields & groves so loved and cared for by him, where I have dwelt 
so many years, happy alone in his loved companionship, to think that every 
morrow will bring but grief & his absence before me requires a fortitude which 
does not come to me, the magnitude of a loss too difficult to realize, & I only pray, 
that resignation may be sent me. 



PART II: 1830-1858 273 

Please present my affectionate remembrance to all our relatives, I should be 
much honored and gratified to hear from you. 

And may God spare you long to us, to your beloved family, wishes 

Your affectionate Niece, 
Indiana Fletcher 

^ Indiana preferred this spelling of the plantation's name. It appeared thus in her will, and in the charter 
of Sweet Briar College. ~ Under the terms of his will, which was drawn July 30, 1852, Elijah's house, 
lot, and furniture in Lynchburg were left to Maria (who died in 1853); his Sweetbrier plantation, house- 
hold furniture, and silver plate to Indiana and Elizabeth, as well as the house in Lynchburg after his wife's 
death. **A1I my other property of every kind nature and description, I give to my son Sidney and my 
Daughters Indiana and Elizabeth. , . . The intention of the above instrument is to convey my entire estate 
to my Son Sidney and my Daughters Indiana and Elizabeth" (Amherst County Will Book, XIV, 527—28). 
In 1859 Elizabeth married W. Hamilton Mosby of Lynchburg. Subsequently, according to court records in 
Lynchburg and Amherst and family letters, Elijah Fletcher's estate was parceled out among the three heirs 
named in his will. Among other properties, Indiana drew the Sweet Briar plantation. Lucian was not in- 
cluded in the will, nor was he mentioned in his father's letters after his return from California, which Elijah 
reported in the letter to Calvin dated Nov. 10, 1851. Elijah's treatment of Lucian and his probable reasons 
for doing so were foreshadowed in an earlier letter to Calvin, dated June 2, 1845. 



APPENDIXES 



Appendix I 



THE FLETCHER FAMILY 

Jesse Fletcher (i 763-1 831) and Lucy Keyes (i 765-1 846) were married at 
Westford, Massachusetts, in 1782. 



CHILDREN 






Charlotte 


b.1782 


d.1795 


Stephen 


b.1784 


d.1790 


Michael 


b.1785 


d.1859, 


Fanny 


b.1786 


d.1872, 


Jesse 


b.1787 


d.1848 


Elijah 


b.1789 


d.1858. 


Timothy 


b.1791 


d.1870 


Lucy 


b.1792 


d.i888. 


Stephen II 


b.1794 


d.i8i8, 


Laura 


b.1796 


d.1844, 


Calvin 


b.1798 


d.i866, 


Miles 


b.1799 


d..? 


Dexter 


b.i8oi 


d.1803 


Louisa 


b.1804 


d.1836, 


Stoughton 


b.i8o8 


d.1882. 



at Indianapolis, Ind. 
at Newark, N.Y. 

at Sweet Briar, Va. 

at Newark, N.Y. 
at New Orleans, La. 
at Newark, N.Y. 
at Indianapolis, Ind. 



at Newark, N.Y. 
at Indianapolis, Ind. 



Elijah Fletcher married (April 15, 1813) Maria Antoinette Crawford (1792— 
1853), daughter of William Sidney and Sophia Penn Crawford of Tusculum, 
Amherst County, Virginia. 



CHILDREN 






Sidney 


b. June 1 821 


d.1898 


Lucian 


b. January 1824 


d.1895 


Laura 


b. September 1825 


d.1826 


Indiana 


b. March 1828 


d.1900 


Twin, male 


b. March 1828 


d.1828 


Elizabeth 


b. February 1831 


d.1890 



Appendix II 



RECEIPTS FOR EDUCATIONAL EXPENSES 
OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 

Master Elijah Fletcher to the Westford Academy Dr. 
To his Tuition from Sept. 5th 1 1 weeks @ 23 Cents 7 mills per week $2.60 

Westford, Nov. 1 9th, 1 804 Received payment 

Joseph Hovey 

Westford Academy 19th of Nov. 1805 
Received of Elijah Fletcher 2 Dols. and 60 Cents, his tuition in full for the 
first quarter ending with the above date. 

Ben. Burge Precept. 

Rec'd Sept. 24, 1808 of Elijah Fletcher eight Dollars & fifty seven Cents, 
which is in full of his quarter bills due the treasury of Middy, to the 17 Aug't 
1808. 

Samuel Swift Treas. 

Hanover June 22, 1809. Received of Elijah Fletcher twelve dollars and 
ninety cents in full for board. 

[?] Putney 

1 8 10 March 15th. Reed, of J. Parker five dollars & sixty nine cents towards 
the demand I have for keeping school. 

Elijah Fletcher 

UVM 30th May 18 10. Received of Elijah Fletcher and Norman Williams 
each fifty cents being for initiation to the Philophonean Adelphi. 

James C. Dutcher, Scribe 



Appendix III 



NEW GLASGOW ACADEMY 

Regarding the site of the old Academy there are today at least two different 
opinions, each with some merit. Greenwood H. Nowlin, Jr., of Lynchburg, 
whose grandparents at one time owned David Garland's house, offers his grand- 
mother's statement that this house, a large red-brick building, was in fact the 
Academy. He surmises that the Garland family was then living at Winton, home 
of Mrs. Garland's parents, the Merediths. No proof for this version has been 
found, however. 

Others maintain that the Academy was on the site of the present Clifford 
School, a public elementary school, just east of Clifford (formerly New Glas- 
gow). This assertion was made by Mrs. William L. Patteson, of Lynchburg, in 
an interview in October 1963. It was based on statements as to the Academy's 
location made by her father, Valerius McGinnis, Jr. (1847-1933), who had 
described the building to her as a large brick structure, its yard surrounded by a 
serpentine brick wall. He was a descendant of an old New Glasgow family, fa- 
miliar with local history, and he was one of the last trustees of the Academy. 
Before the present Clifford School was built, a one-room public school stood on 
the same site, according to Mrs. Patteson, who attended it. 

Her account was corroborated shortly thereafter by three Claiborne sisters, 
likewise descendants of early settlers and life-long residents of New Glasgow. 
They also pointed out Dr. James Murray Brown's former home, Camperdown, 
standing directly across the road from the school. Elijah Fletcher boarded at 
Dr. Brown's home when he was teaching at New Glasgow Academy. 

In seeking to establish the truth of one of these two conflicting opinions the 
search was continued in the Amherst courthouse. On November 28, 1805, the 
trustees of the New Glasgow Academy purchased from "David S. Garland and 
Jane his wife ... for the sum of $I00 ... a certain tract or parcel of land 
situate lying and being in the County of Amherst containing by a late survey 
four acres . . . adjoining the town of New Glasgow it being the same on which 
the Academy lately erected now stands." The description shows this to be a 
rectangular tract of land, although its exact location has not been determined.^ 
No deeds relating to the sale or purchase of part of the Academy lot were found, 
but other evidence came to light. 

A plat drawing in the Amherst County Plat Book^ "exhibits the boundaries of 
the New Glasgow Academy Lot, together with the small slices adjoining thereto 
belonging to David S. Garland, which the s'd Garland sold to Charles H. Page. 
The black lines represent the limits of the Academy Lot, containing 4 acres, 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 280 

the western part of which containing 2 acres [22?] perches was sold by 
the Trustees to C. H. Page." The survey for this plat drawing was made in 
December 1836. 

On September 30, 1882, a deed conveying the Academy lot was drawn be- 
tween the Trustees of the First Part (Robert A. Coghill, A. F. Wills, V. Mc- 
Ginnis, Sr., B. V. Cash, P. Henson, William Johnson, and V. McGinnis, Jr.) 
and N. N. Mantiply, William Sandidge, and E. B. McGinnis, Public Free School 
Trustees for Temperance District in the county of Amherst and their successors 
in office. 

Whereas a certain lot or parcel of land in the village of New Gasgow con- 
taining 2 acres known as the Academy lot was bequeathed to the County of 
Amherst by David S. Garland Sr. for educational purposes and the above-named 
Trustees having been appointed to carry into effect the wishes of the said David 
Garland and whereas by reason of alteration in the school system of the state the 
above named Trustee(s) cannot exercise powers conveyed by their appointment 
and whereas the above named Free School Trustees can carry into effect the 
wishes of the above named donor. Therefore the parties of the First part do 
grant, bargain, transfer and convey to the Parties of the Second part all the 
powers, duties, and responsibilities vested in them as above stated, so long as 
the parties of the Second part shall use the above described property as a school 
for white children. 

This deed was entered on January 15, 1883.^ No evidence of David Garland's 
bequest has been found, as he died intestate. 

This deed explains the reason for the location of the one-room school which 
Mrs. Patteson attended, and further, the location of the present Clifford School 
on the same site. Nothing has been found concerning the fate of the old 
Academy building, but it is surmised that it was torn down. By 1883 the 
Academy, if it was still standing, was nearly 80 years old} the population of New 
Glasgow (then recently renamed Clifford) had dwindled considerably and such 
a large schoolhouse was no longer needed. 

Further support for this location of the Academy is found in a letter included 
in a notebook of Amherst County history prepared for the Home Demonstration 
clubs in 1937, now in the possession of Mrs. Gladys Kent Williams of Amherst. 
A letter based on "information furnished by Mrs. Belle Mays Critzer in 
1937" reads: 

I think I can give you all some information on our Clifford School. Our 
School site before the Civil War was owned by the Persbytereans [sic], so 
they had a big Academy on the lot, for young men and was taught by a Mr. 
Branch Saunders. After the Civil War the Clifford trustees bought the lot on 
which our school now stands, providing it was to never to be used only for a 
church or school. Before that we did not have a school house in Clifford, which 



APPENDIXES 281 

was then New Glasgow. So a one room School building was erected which ac- 
commodated sixty pupils and was taught only by men teachers. 

The weight of the evidence assembled would indicate beyond reasonable doubt 
that the Academy once stood on the site of the present Clifford School. 

* Amherst County Deed Book, vol. K, 34.0. "11, 115. ^ Deed Book, vol. GO, 159. 



Appendix IV 



THE CRAWFORD FAMILY 

The following information appears on pages from a family Bible which was 
badly damaged by fire. This section of the Bible is now in the Mary Helen 
Cochran Library at Sweet Briar College. 

William S. Crawford born 5th January 1760 "1 Intermarried the 
Sophia Penn born 19th December i755[6.''] J 19th November 1785 

THEIR ISSUE WAS 

Sally Crawford born the i ith February 1 787 

Pamelia Crawford born ist December 1789. Died 19th December 1790 

Maria Crawford born ist November 1792 

Henrietta Crawford born 27th June 1794 

Betsey Crawford born 1 5th April 1 796 

Emelia Crawford born 24th May 1798. Died 12 July 18 12 

Vantrump Crawford born 27 November 1 800 

William Sidney Crawford Jr. born 1 7th Febry 1 803 

Alexander Penn Crawford born 1 1 th July 1 805 

Gabriella Sophia Crawford born 1 9th December 1 807 

Julia Crawford born the 4th October 1 8 1 2 

Augustus Allen born 8th July 1 8 13 

Emelia Sophia Spooner born 30th June 1 8 1 5 

Corinner Patten born i st October 1 8 1 6 

Elizabeth Sophia Vannerson born November 17, 1 8 1 7 

William Crawford Vannerson born [no date] 

Maria Georgiana Williams born September lOth, 1867^ 

MARRIAGES 

Henrietta Crawford married 28 th October 18 10 
Maria Antoinette Crawford married 1 5th April 1 8 1 3 
Elizabeth Crawford married 15th August 18 14 
Sarah Crawford married 1 5th August 1 8 1 5 
Henrietta Allen married 30th May, 1816^ 
Wm. S. Crawford married loth May 1827 
Gabriella S. Crawford married 5th July 1 827 



APPENDIXES 283 

DEATHS 

Emily Crawford died 1 2th July 1 8 1 2 Sundy 

Wm. S. Crawford died 1 9th February 1 8 1 5 Sundy night 

Elizabeth Sophia ^'anne^son died 30th July 1 8 1 8 

Sophia Crawford died at Louisville Kentucky the 8th of October 1 844 



SUPPLEMENTARY DATA ON CRAWFORD MARRIAGES 

October 27, 18 10 

James Allen Henrietta Crawford 

John Timberlake, guardian to William S. Crawford, father of 

James, of Fluvanna Co. wife^ 

April 15, 1 8 13 

Elijah Fletcher Maria A. Crawford 

Each of Lexington Parish Consent of William S. Crawford 

Security &' witnesses: Edmond Penn and B. Sfooner; Chas. M. Carter* 
June 30, 1827 

Charles H. Page Gabriella Sophia Crawford 

Consent of Sophia Crawford^ 
May 8, 1827 
William S. Crawford Ann Fox Penn 

Edmd Penn {farentY 

^ This was "Daisy," the only child of Indiana Fletcher and James Henry Williams. " Henrietta Allen's 

marriage is referred to in a property settlement dated Dec. 25, 1816, "between William Vannerson of the 
Town of Petersburg . . . and Sophia Crawford and A. B. Spooner of the State of Virginia . . . Whereas 
the said William Vannerson has lately intermarried with Henrietta Allen formerly Henrietta Crawford of 
the County of Amherst . . . one of the heirs of Wm. S. Crawford dec'd late of said County of Amherst" 
(Amherst County Deed Book, vol. N, 341). 'Amherst County Register of Marriages, I, 223. * Ibid., 

p. 235. ^ liiJ., p. zgj. ^ Ibid. 



Appendix V 



ADMINISTRATOR'S ACCOUNT 
WILLIAM S. CRAWFORD ESTATE 

Contrary to commonly held beliefs, Elijah Fletcher did not come into a 
fortune through the Crawford estate. Upon the presentation of his accounts as 
acting administrator of the estate of William S. Crawford, the commissioners 
recorded: 

We have found that there has come to the hands of said Administrator the 
sum of $19,693.50 and that he has disbursed the sum of $19,522.17. It appears 
to us that the Intestate departed this life considerably embarrassed, leaving a 
number of his transactions unsettled the Settlement of which devolved on the 
Administrator, that both the Items of debit and credit existing with said Estate 
were numerous and complicated and required much attention and labour on the 
part of the administrator and from the peculiar nature of the Estate and from the 
diligence prudence and integrity with which the Estate has been managed by 
the Administrator and from our conviction that his attention has greatly bene- 
fited the Estate and that much time has been appropriated to it. We shall allow 
him a commission under these circumstances of 10 Per cent on his disburse- 
ments, but in as much as he boarded with the Estate during the time he was 
settling the accounts of which no charge is or ought to be made against him on 
that account we have diminished the allowance to him and have allowed him 8 
Per cent commission amtg to $1561.75 leaving the Estate indebted to the said 
administrator the sum of $1390.43 as will appear by the foregoing account all 
which is respectfully submitted. 

[Signed] Joseph Dillard, Thomas Aldridge, 
Peachy Franklin, Commissioners, Sept. 28, 1821.^ 

^Amherst County Will Book, vol. A-i, 55. 



Appendix VI 



AN EDITORIAL FROM THE NEW OWNERS 
OF THE VIRGINIAN 

TO THE PUBLIC 

The Virginian will be hereafter conducted by the subscribers.' It may be 
proper to state that its political aspect will undergo no change — that it will con- 
tinue devoted to the maintenance of those great doctrines of the Republican 
party to which Virginia has ever been ardently attached, and which, at the pres- 
ent crisis, scarcely less alarming than that of '98, she cannot but feel called upon 
to reassert with all her might. Recent powerful demonstrations evince the 
determination of our state representatives to assume the attitude which becomes 
them and the people they serve — that they are not to be lured from a strict 
adherence to duty, and seduced into a violation of their political Bible, by the 
splendid schemes of internal improvement, national education, &c, &c, which 
have been held forth to tempt their cupidity and to shake their fidelity. How- 
ever folitic these measures may be deemed, there are some sacrifices that ought 
not to be made to attain them. The end cannot sanctify the means. In the 
discussion of the questions which may arise from this subject, we shall advocate 
the same opinions to which the columns of the Virginian have ever given cur- 
rency, in decided opposition to constitutional construction by implication. 

Relative to the miscellaneous department of the Virginian, every effort shall 
be made and no pains spared, to render it worthy of the increased support of 
the public. Several improvements are contemplated, which will be effected as 
speedily as possible — such as presenting every week a full and accurate price 
current of the staple articles of this and the Richmond markets — the rate of 
exchange &c, &c. During the recess of the national and state legislatures, we 
shall occupy a portion of our columns with Agricultural essays of a practical 
nature, derived from the best sources of information which may be within our 
reach.^ 

It is unnecessary, however, to make promises. It is an old maxim, and not less 
true than old, that "actions speak louder than words." Upon these we are willing 
to rely, and upon them we rest our hopes of success. It shall be our aim, as it is 
certainly our interest, to render the Virginian worthy of the patronage of the 
community, by giving to its contents a character of extensive and lasting useful- 
ness. No difficulty will be experienced in the settlement of accounts, as they have 
been transferred with the office. Elijah Fletcher 

Richard H. Toler 

^Virginian (Lynchburg), Jan. 21, 182;, p. 2. ^ The first agricultural column appeared Apr. 28, 1825; 

it consisted of excerpts from the American Farmer, a Baltimore journal. 



Appendix VII 



GOVERNOR RAY AND CALVIN FLETCHER 

Governor James Brown Ray became a controversial figure in Indiana in 1826, 
shortly after his first election to office, when he asked for appointment to the 
commission that was to negotiate a treaty between the federal government and 
the Miami and Pottawatamie Indians in order to expedite building a road from 
Lake Michigan to the Ohio River. As the state constitution prevented the gov- 
ernor from holding any federal office of honor or profit, he "requested that no 
commission, but merely a letter of authority should be sent him. . . . But his 
precaution did not save him from trouble."^ Although a resolution that he had 
forfeited his state office was hotly debated and defeated (30-28), at the next 
session of the legislature. Governor Ray remained a controversial figure. He 
was attacked in a twenty-four-page pamphlet by Samuel Merrill, who asserted 
that he "charged and received from the United States at the rate of eight dollars 
per day for double the time he was actually employed. All of the same time 
he charged and received his pay as Governor." Contrary to his custom, Ray did 
not reply to the charge, and many inferred that it was well-founded.^ 

Governor Ray and Calvin Fletcher fell into conflict in Danville, Indiana, while 
both were practicing law and before Ray became governor in 1825. A con- 
troversy arose over something the former had said in a message to the legis- 
lature, "and eventually Governor Ray told Mr. Fletcher that if he repeated the 
offensive remark he would thrash him. Those who knew Mr. Fletcher are aware 
that threats had but little terror to him, so he reiterated the accusation, where- 
upon Governor Ray caught him by the nose. At this Mr. Fletcher struck the 
Governor in the face, but before he could repeat the blow his arm was caught 
by the bystanders and the belligerents separated. Both these men had the cour- 
age of their convictions, and were ever ready to maintain them in the old West- 
ern style.'" 

Further evidence of Calvin Fletcher's strong feelings about Governor Ray is 
found in his diary. The entry for January 31,1829 reads : 

About 1 2 Gov'r Ray Called into my office . . . and for the first time he & I 
had some conversation for the last six months. I have said many hard things 
against him of which I did not deny but told him from our present situation 
both members of the Methodist church we at least should be apparently friendly. 
. . . We parted half pledging to treat each other well and so far as it relates to 
myself I wish that it was within my power not to mention his name again for 
the next 3 years — for I cannot speak well of him, [and] to speak evil is 
highly improper. May I be preserved from uttering anything about the man 
either pro or con for I am almost sure to do him injustice. 



APPENDIXES 287 

After some years, the hard feelings were softened to such an extent that in 
1 85 1 Calvin recorded in his diary: "Johny Ray the infant son of the late Govr. 
Ray 8 year old for whom I became guardian a few days past at the request of 
hismother in Agt i850on her dyingbed wasbrot. . . ." 

^Woollen, op, cit.y p. 58. *^ J. P. Uunn, Indiana and Indianans (Chicago and New Vork, 1919), I, 

380-81. ^ Woollen, op. cil., pp. 63-64. 



Appendix VIII 



AN EDITORIAL WRITTEN BY ELIJAH FLETCHER 
ON HIS RETIREMENT 

TO THE PATRONS OF THE VIRGINIAN 

The undersigned has disposed of his interest in the Lynchburg Virginian, and 
consequently withdraws from the concern.^ Pursuits more congenial to his feel- 
ings than the heartless politics of the day leave him but little time to devote to 
the management of a public journal. In retiring he feels much gratification that 
the sssme pilot,^ who for twenty years, has so ably and successfully steered its 
course amid breakers and quicksands of political strife, will still guide the 
helm — assisted by two gentlemen' who have zeal, and industry, and honesty of 
purpose, to make this journal worthy of the liberal support of a generous public. 

In dissolving his connection with the Virginian, the undersigned returns 
his grateful acknowledgements to his friends and the community who have so 
generously sustained it for seventeen years. 

E. Fletcher 

^ Virginian (Lynchburg), Nov. 22, 1841, p. 2. ^ Toler remained with the paper until 1846 (see letter 
of July 23, 1825, n.3). ' K. B. Townley and C. W. Statham were Toler's partners until 1845 (Cappon, 
Hid.). 



Appendix IX 



EXCERPTS FROM CALVIN FLETCHER'S DIARY 

Monday July ii, [1842.]* I left [from Winchester] in the stage and passed 
thro or rather up the Valley of Va. as beautiful country by nature & arrived at 
Harris [on] burgh the county seat of Rockingham C'ty, Va. 

12. I went to Stanton, arri'd at 10 — left at 11 for Lexington — arri'd there at 8 
in the eve & found I could not go to Lynchburg until 14th. This gave no little 
uneasiness for I was only 40 or 45 miles from L & I cd not hire a private con- 
veyance to L for less than $20.00. Such is the extravagance of the Va. There is 
no enterprise, no justice or fitness in their charges. Their bills are twice or 3 
times more than in the free states. 

13. Went to Natural Bridge from Lexington 14 miles & cd get no further. I was 
gratified to see this curiosity & spent some hours in its examination. But my 
uneasiness to get to L & on my journey tended to destroy the pleasure I other- 
wise wd have had. I had lost some 3 or 4 days on this wait. 

14. At 10 or II it began to rain. I was here in this wild picturesque region. 
Tavern & a few waiters to cater to the extravagance of the young Vas & the 
traveller who like me was hunting curiosities instead of business. It poured down 
torrents of rain & by 10 o'clock at night not a rill but was pouring down torrents 
from the mountain & highest waters had not been seen by the oldest settlers. 
The valleys are overflowed & the wheat & corn are all distroid on the low lands. 
The roads are destroid & I am completely hemmed in. No stage can stir for a 
week. I tried every expedient to get to L but no conveyance offrd & I at last 
found a man by the name of Tinsly who is to walk & ride part of 14 miles to 
his residence below on the River. So I walkd with him 7 miles. There we 
ferried over the north river at the junction with James River. I staid over night 
with him & on the 15th I left his house was pedalled over the mountains into 
Amherst by a man* whom I hired to go along as it was impossible to proceed 
down the valley of the river. I crossed Peddler River at Pedlar Mills & reachd 
Lynchburg at 5 p m & found Elijah & wife well. 

(Additional item in a letter to his wife) 
* Who weighed 200 — We had to creep along the mts. The old fat man & my- 
self both on foote. I had to climb up twice & help him as he wished to turn 
back, his whole plant swept off $8000 or $9000. I learned from him a lesson of 
patience I never shall forget. 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 290 

1 6. Saturday, damp wet day. I spent the same in the house. Went out only once. 
Wrote several letters for Mr Reed (Revd)" who was about to travel to la 
with his son. 

Sunday 17 July 1842. Went to church with E (the Episcopal). Sidney came 
home from the Plantations. I had much pleasant conversation with E. 

18. Went to the plantation in Amherst [Sweetbrier] with Sidney. It was 
very warm — E having gone before us. 

19 & 20. At the same place. This place is 3 miles square & is in fine cultivation. 

20. Went to the New Glassgo farm [Tusculum] & spent the day. 

On 21 I left at i in the stage & at daylight next morn was in Charlittsvill — 
passed Jeffersons place. 

22 Monticello & Saturday 23 arrived in Washington at 3 p.m. found there 
Taber Ewing's father. Went to Catholic female school at Georgetown & there 
saw Br E's daughter Indiana & Jesse daughter Mary. After this I returned & 
visited Senator Smith^ & found Lucian my brothers son had arrivd from New 
Haven. He is a fine looking boy of 17 or 18 — appears resolute & firm. I think 
he will make a man of no little consequence. 

^ These excerpts are from Calvin Fletcher's diary. The spelling remains as it appears in the original. 

■^ This is probably William S. Reid, who had three sons and nine daughters. His brother, John Reid, had 
gone to Indiana several years earlier (see letter of May 5, 1835). ^ This is probably Oliver Hampton 

Smith (1794— 1859), who was elected to the Senate from Indiana in 1837 and served until 184.3. 



Appendix X 



THE KIRKLANDS 

The Kirkland family, with whom Indiana and Elizabeth Fletcher spent sev- 
eral winters, was prominent in New York literary circles in the mid-nineteenth 
century. Caroline M. Stansbury Kirkland (1801-64) was an author of some 
renown at that period. Her husband, William Kirkland, had taught for several 
years at Hamilton College. Moving west, they had a seminary at Geneva, N.Y., 
and then at Detroit 5 later they were early settlers of the village of Pinckney, 
Mich. 

Mrs. Kirkland's first book, A New Home, published in 1839, was a frankly 
realistic and humorous account of the trials of a housewife in a frontier settle- 
ment. In 1 842 the Kirklands moved to New York, where she established a girls' 
boarding school. After her husband's death in 1846, Mrs. Kirkland supported 
her family by teaching and serving as an editor of the Union Magazine. Poe 
said of Mrs. Kirkland that she "converses with remarkable accuracy and fluency, 
brilliantly witty, and now and then not a little sarcastic.'" Her home was a 
gathering place for men and women of letters. The calibre of Mrs. Kirkland's 
literary circle is indicated by the fact that her pallbearers included Peter Cooper, 
Nathaniel Parker Willis, and William CuUen Bryant." 

Indiana's friendship with the Kirklands was continued through visits and cor- 
respondence. In 1859 Indiana wrote to her Uncle Calvin that she expected "to 
spend some little time with Mrs. Kirkland the Authoress now at her country 
place in New Jersey. She always has a Literary Circle around her and other 
young ladies with her two Daughters make always a delightful sojourn to one 
of my taste." Four years later, in June 1863, Indiana wrote to her friend "Liz- 
zie," then in Danville, 111., asking her to forward a letter to Uncle Calvin and 
to find out whether he had received Indiana's last two letters. Lizzie (Eliza- 
beth S. Kirkland) carried out Indiana's request. In a letter to Calvin, written 
July 29, she offered to forward Calvin's reply to Indiana: "I shall probably be 
successful in getting a letter to her, as my brother. Major Kirkland, although 
not at present in the army, has good facilities for communicating by Flag of 
Truce, through his brother officers. . . . Please return her letter to me as she is 
an old and valued friend, and these occasional tokens of her existence are very 
precious to me."^ 

In the late 1880s Elizabeth Kirkland was principal of a school for young 
ladies in Chicago. She had published several books, including Six Little Cooks 
(1875), Dora's Housekeeping (1877), A Short History of France (1878), and 
Speech and Manners (1885).* 



THE LETTERS OF ELIJAH FLETCHER 292 

Her brother, Joseph Kirkland (i 830-94), after some years as a writer and 
editor, became a lawyer. He moved to Illinois in 1856 and rather late in life 
turned again to writing. One of his novels, The Captain of Company K, an un- 
romanticized tale of army life during the Civil War, won first prize in the novel 
contest of the Detroit Free Press in 1890. Kirkland had been in the army from 
1 861 to 1863 and had risen in rank from private to major in the Army of the 
Potomac. His other novels were realistic presentations of his boyhood experi- 
ences in frontier communities. He encouraged Hamlin Garland, who was his 
chief literary disciple.^ 

^ D.A.B., X, 430. ^ Hid. ^ These letters are in the Fletcher collection in the Indiana State His- 

torical Society Library. * Appleton's Cyclopedia, IV, 556. ° D.A.B., X, 431-32. 



Appendix XI 



DEATH OF ELIJAH FLETCHER, ESQ. 

We were pained to hear of the death of this gentleman, which occurred at 
his country seat, in Amherst, on Saturday evening last.' Of his early history we 
know but little, except that he came to this city from the North, about forty years 
ago, and laid here the foundation of that ample fortune of which he died pos- 
sessed. 

From 1825 to 1841, embracing a period of nearly 17 years, he was associated 
with the late Richard H. Toler in the conduct of this journal and, as we learn 
from his valedictory to the patrons of the Virginian, published in November of 
that year, he retired at last to engage in "pursuits more congenial to his feelings 
than the heartless politics of the day." Who that has long been connected with 
the political press has not sometimes felt a similar experience? Since that time 
Mr. Fletcher has resided partly in this city and partly at his elegant abode in 
Amherst where "he ceased at once to work and live." 

During the short period of our residence here it was not our privilege to make 
the acquaintance of Mr. Fletcher, but we learn that he was a gentleman of high 
character J whilst the records of this ofEce and the splendid estate he has left are 
monuments of his untiring energy and industry. 

^ This notice appeared in the Lynchburg Virginian^ Feb. 17, 1858, p. I. 



Appendix XII 



LETTER FROM JESSE FLETCHER TO HIS DAUGHTER, 
LUCY FLETCHER 

This letter was loaned to the editor by Roger P. Williams of Newark, N.Y., a 
great-grandson of Lucy Fletcher Williams. Although it was received too late to 
be incorporated in the text of this book, it is included here because it is the only 
available letter written by Jesse. It indicates that Dr. Bliss lived in or near 
Ludlow after his marriage to Fanny Fletcher in March 1812, and that in Sep- 
tember he and his wife were moving to Chester, Vt., a few miles southeast of 
Ludlow. It also indicates that Lucy was teaching school in Whiting, a small 
village approximately fifty miles northwest of Ludlow, confirming references 
found in Elijah Fletcher's letter of May 15, 18 12. 



Ludlow 7th Sept. 1 8 12 
Dear Daughter 

We are in a Deplorable Situation. Your marm has been sick all Summer and 
Jesse is now very Sick. Doctr Parker & Doctr Bliss attend him. Every day, we 
expect a [Setled?] fever. S is wanting to leave us but I don't know how to 
spare him. Mr. Washbourn is wanting him for Company (a member of 
Colege). Your marm wants you home. Cant spare you at two Dollars for 
week, but I say Consult your own & the Familys happiness. I prefer the 
happiness of my Children to my own, no matter for me if you Can enjoy 
your self, but dont forgit your marm. You cant think of her desire to have 
you home. She is preparing to go to Westford with Anna Fletcher who has 
been here sumtime — if you can leave your School and Cross your engagements 
you cant have any excuse. Fanny is moving to Chester next week as Doctr Bliss 
has engaged the Widow Hubarts house. You know where it is. You will not 
forgit your obligations and do right. May a Blessing attend you divine, and 
that God who has been your parents friend & benefactor be yours 

Jesse Fletcher 

The letter is addressed: Miss Lucy Fletcher 

Whiting, Vermont 



INDEX 



Adams, John Quincy, 96, 99, 104 ni 
Agricultural shows, 144, 145 n4, 231 
Agriculture and land use, 6, 8, 12, 14, 20, 
21, 35, 40, 44, 50, 72, 86, 157, 190, 
200, 202, 207, 213, 218, 220-21, 224, 
225, 236, 243, 246, 249, 262; crop fail- 
ure of 1814, 82 
Albany, N.Y., 4, 10 

Alexandria, Va., 7, 10, i;ni, 18; climate, 
8, 20, 23, 28; population in 1 8 10, 16, 
19 ni ; churches, 16; banks, 19 
Alexandria Academy, 17, 18, 19 n4 
Amherst Court House, Va., 54 nl 
Appomattox County, Va., 200, 203 n; 
Archer, William Segar, 193 n4 

Barclay, Francis, 23 n4 

Barrows, Ruth E. (Mrs. Stoughton A. 

Fletcher), 264 nl 
Barton, mistake for Barclay 
Bath Alum Springs, Va., 241, 242 nl 
Battle of Bennington Day, 59 n2 
Benton, Thomas Hart, 1 89 
Bishop Doane's School, 1 89 n2 
Blair, Samuel, 78, 79 nl 
Bliss, Dr. Calvin, 56, 67, 125 ni, 294; 

marri,ige, 56 ni 
Bliss, Fanny Fletcher (Mrs. Calvin Bliss), 

see Fletcher, Fanny 
Bolton, Nathaniel, 145 n; 
Boyd, Henrietta Garland (Mrs. James 

Boyd), 146 nl 
Boyd, Julian P., 37 n2 
Boynton, Calvin, 58 
Breckenridge, John, 73 n2 
Brown, Dr. James M., 36, 38 nn3, 4, 39, 

43. 47 "4. 70 
Brown, Mrs. James M., 45 
Brown, Dr. Thomas, 38 n3 
Brown University, 172 m, 184 n3, 

218 nn2, 3, 232ni, 234ni, 

247 n2, 258 nl 
Buffalo Springs, Va., 59 ni, 62, 199 n2 
Burlington, Vt., 4, 20, 27 
Burr, Aaron, 9 n2 
Burrus, Joseph, 38 n4 
Button, Calvin, 218 n4, 236 n4 
Button, Charlotte, see Robson, Charlotte 

Button 



Button, Dr. Cyrus, 93 n3 
Button, Fanny, see Yandes, Fanny Button 
Button, Laura Fletcher (Mrs. Cyrus Button) 
see Fletcher, Laura 

Cabell, Dr. Landon, 139, 140, 143 
Cabell, Patrick H., 139 
Cabell, Polly, 73 n2 
Cabell, William, 38 n4 
Cabell, William H., 38 n4 
Cabellsburg, Va., 47 n4; see also New 

Glasgow 
Calhoun, John C, 193 nl 
California, conditions in, 223 
Callender, James Thomson, 37 n2 
Camm, John, 38 n4 
Camp meeting, 43 
Camperdown, 47 n;, 279 
Carter's Mountain, 3 5 
Cattle raising, 215, 221, 222, 226, 233, 

236, 238, 240-41, 250, 267 
Charlottesville, Va., 35 
Chichester, Sarah (Mrs. Thomson Mason), 

9 "4, 1 5 "3 
Chick, Colonel, 42, 43, 46 nl 
Chittenden, Martin, 30, 31 n2 
Christ Church, Alexandria, 19 n2, 23 n4 
Christmas customs, 49, 70, 177, 188, 257 
Church services. New Glasgow, 3 8 
Circuit Court, EF attends in Charlottesville, 

35 
Clark, George Rogers, I 5 n3 
Clay, Henry, ;f£'i, 116, 175, 189 
Clifford, Va., 34 n3, 47 n4 
Clifford School, 47 n;, 279, 280-81 
Climate, changes in, I 3 I, 144 
Clothing and cost of, ;i, 53, 5;, 61, 63, 72 
Cobbs, Jane Meredith Garland (Mrs. John 

P. Cobbs) , 66 n 1 , 1 46 n I 
Cobbs, Dr. John P., 47 n7, 64, 66 ni, 140, 

143 

Cobbs, Nicholas H., 145 ni 

Colburn, Zerah, 30, 3 i n3 

Colby, Harriet Proctor (Mrs. Stoddard 

Colby), 237, 238 n4 
Commodity- prices, 78, 91, 92, 94, 95, 98, 

188, 200, 211, 216, 226, 232, 233, 240, 

244, 245, 249, 251, 252, 256, 257, 266, 

268 



INDEX 

Cooley, James, 91 n2 

Constitutional Whig, 97 n4 

Corn, 14, 44-45 ; see also Agriculture and 
land use 

Corn Laws, 200, 203 n4 

Cotton, 9 ; description of, 40 ; see also 
Agriculture and land use 

Crawford, daughters of William S., 5 5 

Crawford, Alexander, 173 n2, 282 

Crawford, Ann Penn (Mrs. W. S. Craw- 
ford, Jr.) 196, 208 ni, 254, 283 

Crawford, Charles (Parson), 38 n4, 64, 
66 nn2, 3, 76 

Crawford, Captain David, 73 n I 

Crawford, Elizabeth (Mrs. Alden B. 
Spooner, Jr.), 67 n3, 94 nl, 
121, 282 ; marriage, 81 n3 

Crawford, Fannie Harris, 66 n4 

Crawford, Gabriella, see Page, Gabriella 
Crawford 

Crawford, Henrietta, see Vannerson, 
Henrietta 

Crawford, Judith, see Crawford, Julia 

Crawford, Julia (Mrs. Ralph Watson), 117, 
Il8n3, 121, 173 n2, 192 

Crawford, Maria (Mrs. Elijah Fletcher), 
see Fletcher, Maria Crawford 

Crawford, Sarah, see Patten, Sarah Craw- 
ford 

Crawford, Sidney, 254 

Crawford, Sophia Penn (Mrs. William S. 
Crawford), 67 n2, 72, 94, 99, 123 n2, 
152 n2, 173 n2, 176, 177, 282; death of, 
184 n2 

Crawford, Van Trump, 76 n3, 173 n2, 194, 
195 n2, 196 

Crawford, William, 66 n2 

Crawford, William Harris, 66 n4, 96, 

97 n6 
Crawford, William Sidney, xv, 38 n4, 49, 

50 n3, 66 n2, 67 n2, 72, 73 n2, 81; 

death of, 83; estate of, 84nnl, 3, 282, 

284 
Crawford, William Sidney, Jr., 151, 152 n2, 

154, 163, 173 n2, 204, 207, 208 ni, 

282, 283 
Crawford family, 65, 282-83 
Crawford Gap, 66 n 3 
Crawford home, 72 ; see also Tusculum 



298 

Crews, Sarah Penn (Mrs. Thomas Crews), 

123 n2 
Crews, Thomas, 123 n2 
Crystal Palace, 242 
Cushing, Courtland (Judge), 204-5, 206 ni 

Dabney, Chiswell, xv 

Dabney, Mrs. Chiswell, 172, 173 n4 

Dartmouth College, xv, 3 

Davey, mistake for Davie 

Davie, William Richardson, 63, 64 n6 

Dearborn, Henry (General), 63, 64 n4 

Dearborne, mistake for Dearborn 

Duel, description of, 7 

Dutch settlers, 6,12 

Economic conditions, 92, 139, 141 n5, 143, 
146, 147, 161, 163, 164, 176, 182, 183, 
185, 187, 200, 235, 250, 251; see also 
Land speculation; Virginia: economic con- 
ditions 

Edley, David R., 208, 209 nni, 2, 241 

Elections and electioneering, 26, 52, 53, 63, 
66, 102, 103-4, 131, 136, 157, 216, 251, 
252 

Emigration westward, I 36, 139, 1 45, I 5 I, 
266 

Eppes, John W., 26, 28 n2, 63, 64 n7 

Erie Canal, 93 n3, 1 16 

European journey (of Sidney, Indiana, and 
Elizabeth) 191, 193, 195-96, 198, 201, 
203-4, 205 

Evans, Mr., 140, 141, 175, 202; confec- 
tionery shop, 118, 121, 135 

Exchange Bank, Lynchburg, 241 n3 

Farmers Bank of Va., Lynchburg Branch, 
154 n2 

Federalists, 57, 63, 64 n5, 70, 72 

Fincastle, Va., 142, 190,231 

Fletcher, daughters of EF, European so- 
journ, 191, 194, 195, 196, 198, 201, 
203-4, 205; at Sweetbrier, 207, 210-11, 
225, 226, 230, 232, 249, 259, 262, 267, 
268; trips to Vermont, 209, 211, 217, 
219, 237, 240, 242, 243; in Philadel- 
phia, 226; in New York, 250, 251, 256, 
257, 258, 291; trip south and west, 264, 
265 



INDEX 

Fletcher, AdolphusT., 232 n2 
Fletcher, Dr. Alphcus, 214, 21; m 
Fletcher, Alphonso, 232 nz 
Fletcher, Ann, 1 50, 151 nl, 152, 156 
Fletcher, Asa, 130, 131 nl, 197 
Fletcher, Betsey Potwin (Mrs. Jesse 
Fletcher, Jr.), ;o n2, 60, 88, 89, 
125, 127 ni, 132 
Fletcher, Bridget, 68 nl 

Fletcher, Cilvin, 20, 42, 65, 76 n3, 84, 85, 
100, 103, 105, 145 n3, 25;nni, 2, 
26; nl; in Pennsylvania, 86, 87 n2; 
visits to Lynchburg, 89, 106, 107 nl, 
184 nl, 289-90; appearance, 90; in Ohio, 
91 n2; settles in Indianapolis, 92 nl ; 
marriages, (ist), 92 nl, (2nd), 255, 
256 nl; family, 103 n6, 129 n4, 166 ni, 
168 nl, 263; lawyer, gi n2, 92 nl, 93; 
state senator, 103 n;, 126 n4, 134 nl; 
banker, 13;, I36ni, igjnl, 260, 
261 nl; EF summarizes career of, 254, 

257 

Fletcher, Calvin, Jr., I03n6, 231, 232 nl 

Fletcher, Dubois, 127 

Fletcher, Edward H.,214, 2l5nl,2l7 

Fletcher, Elijah: civic activities, xv, xvi, 
113 ni, I30nl; education and expenses, 
xt; 3-4, 22, 27, 29, 71, 278; marriage 
and domestic life, xv, 65, 72, 73, 74, 
75 nl, 77, 102, 277, 283; owner of 
Virginian, xri, xvii, 96, 97 n2, 174, 285, 
288 {see also Lynchburg Virginian); 
views on education and rearing children, 
xz'ii, xviii, 16, 5;, 100, 160, 163, 168, 
181, 196; journey to Virginia, 4-7, 10- 
13; at Alexandria, 7-34; teaching at 
Alexandria, 7, i;, 30; visits Washington, 
7, 30; on indebtedness, 7, 80, 107, 108, 
147, 185; advice to family members, 16, 
20, 24, 33, 41, 47, 48, 55, 57, 60, 61, 
63, 67, 74, 77, 89, 106, 107-8, 126, 127, 
133, 144, 167, 172, 173, 201-2, 255; 
visits Mount Vernon, 18; views on slav- 
ery, 26, 4;, 77-78, 92, 122; journey to 
New Glasgow, 34-37; meeting with 
Jefferson, 36; New Glasgow living ar- 
rangements, 36, 39, 45, 55; teaching at 
New Glasgow Academy, 36, 42, 49, 53, 
55, 56, 61, 72, 79, 81 nl, 86 ni ; land- 



299 

owner, 79, 92, 93 n2, 96, 123, 147, 157, 
173 nn2, 3, 202, 213; managing Craw- 
ford estate, 83, 84 nl, 85, 284; agricul- 
tural interests, 83, 137, 1 57, 1 82, 212, 
213, 219, 249; trips to Vermont, 86, 
87 ni, 100-101, 149-50, 234, 235, 237; 
moves to Lynchburg, 89 ni; home in 
Lynchburg, 102, 103 ng, 139, 202, 205, 
211, 273; business with Stoughton, 107, 
129, 131, 132, 133, 134, 136, 161-62, 
183, 190, 265 ; business with Calvin, ill, 
150, 151-52, 153, 169, 171, 182, 198; 
on civic duty and politics, 129, 185, 189, 
235; on banks, 135; mayor, 139 n4; 
Indiana bank stocks, 144, 145, 153, 160, 
163, 164, 168, 169, 176, 185, 186, 187, 
189, 191, 193, 195, 204, 210, 211, 214, 
217, 223, 226, 229, 233, 234, 239, 241, 
245, 248, 251, 253, 257, 260, 263, 265; 
disposition of estate, 167, 196, 273; let- 
ters to his children, 172-73, 200-203; 
selects burial site, 202, 203 n6; illness 
and death of, 268-73; death of, editorial 
in Virginian, 293 

Fletcher, Elijah Timothy, 103 n6, 184 n3, 
208 n3, 210 nl 

Fletcher, Elizabeth, xv, 123 n3, 153, 180, 
181, 277; schooling, 157, 158, 172; at 
Georgetown Academy, 186, 187, 1 88, 
189 nl, 191 ; marriage, 273 n2; see also 
Fletcher, daughters of EF 

Fletcher, Fanny (Mrs. Calvin Bliss, sister of 
EF), 22, 53, 69, 84, 85, 87-88, 89, 115, 
121, 125, 246, 250 n2, 255, 256, 259, 
270; death, 256 n2 

Fletcher, Fanny [B.], 107 n2 

Fletcher, Frances (Fanny) Keyes (Mrs. 
Joseph Fletcher), 237, 238 ni 

Fletcher, Horace A., 189 n4, 244 

Fletcher, Ida, 244 

Fletcher, Indiana, xv, xvii, 103 nn7, g, 
104 n2, 114, 115, 117, 120, 121, 138, 
220, 273, 277, 283 ni, 291 ; Georgetown 
Academy, 165, 167, 172-73, 174, 177, 
185, 186 nl, 187-88, 189 n3, 290; 
Bishop Doane's School, 187, i89n2, 192; 
music, 157, 158, 207, 249; letters to 



INDEX 

Fletcher, Indiana (cont.) 

Calvin, 214, 270-73; see also Fletcher, 
daughters of EF 

Fletcher, Ingram, 166 ni, 246 nl 

Fletcher, James Cooley, 103 n6, 149 nl, 
172 n2, 174, 217, 218 nn2, 3, 226, 
227 n3, 233 

Fletcher, Jesse, xiv, 3; family, 69-70, 277; 
marriage, 70 ni, 277; debts, 48, 103, 
106, 107, 113, 115, 122, 123, 124, 162; 
death, 122, 123 nl; offices held by, 
125 n3; EF comments on, 210, 212; re- 
unions of his family, 234, 239, 249, 255, 
259, 268; letter to Lucy, 294 

Fletcher, Jesse, Jr., 4, 23, 24, 40, 45, 48, 
53, 60, 69, 74, 80, 87, 88, 100, 125, 
126, 127, 130, 203; death of, 212, 
213 n2 

Fletcher, Josiah, 9 n5, 23 n3, 28, 13 1 ni 

Fletcher, Julia Bullard (Mrs. Stoughton 
Fletcher), 259 n I 

Fletcher, Laura (daughter of EF), .xr, 98 n4, 

99. 277 
Fletcher, Laura (Mrs. Cyrus Button, sister of 

EF), 22, 55, 60, 70, 87, 89, 92, 112 n2, 

12; ni, 198 n2, 230 n2, 277; schooling, 

48, 55, 6l; children of, 218 n4; death 

of, 218 n4 

Fletcher, Lorana (Larana), see Fletcher, 
Laura 

Fletcher, Loisa, see Fletcher, Louisa 

Fletcher, Louisa (Mrs. Joseph A. Miller, 
sister of EF), 22, 70, 89, 92, 112 n2, 
198 n2, 277 

Fletcher, Louisa M. (Mrs. Joshua F. Holt), 
178, 179, 245 n4, 255 n3 

Fletcher, Lucian, xv, 93, loi, 102, 104, 
III, 112, 114-1;, 116, 117, lig, 120, 
122, 128, 139, 152, 18;, 186, 192, 194, 
196, 200, 277; letter to Sidney, 118; 
schooling, 117, 1 18, 123, 138, 144, 146, 
147, 150, 157, i;8, 160, 162, 165; in 
Bridgeport, 167, 168, 170; at Yale, 173, 
174, 177, 181, 186; at William and 
Mary, 186, 188; law studies, 188, igo; 
EF comments on, 185, 192, 216; Cali- 
fornia adventure, 217, 219, 223, 225, 
229, 23 1; omitted from will of EF, 
273 n2 



300 

Fletcher, Lucy (Mrs. Richard P. Williams, 
sister of EF), 9, 73 ni, 92, 112 n2, 125, 
128, 129, 130, I98n3, 253, 256, 270ni; 
schooling, 16, 46, 47 n6, 47-48; at Whit- 
ing. Vt., 54, 55, 294; marriage, 67 ni ; 
letter to Calvin on death of EF, 269-70 
Fletcher, Lucy Keyes (mother of EF), ig, 
22, 27, 28, 34 n2, 46,48, 51, 55, 58,61, 
69, 70 ni, 72, 74, 75, 81, 84, 86, 92, 98, 
105, 124, 130, 139, 149, 160, 170, 188, 
191, 277; death of, 197, 198 ni 
Fletcher, Dr. Luther, 8, 9 n; 
Fletcher, Maria A. C, 168 nl, 220 ni, 

258 n2 
Fletcher, Maria Crawford (Mrs. Elijah 
Fletcher), xv, 67 n2, 73 ni, 74, 75, 77, 
102 n2, 136, 282, 283 ; letters to Sidney, 
1 14-15, 1 17-19, 120-21; letters to Cal- 
vin, 131, 155-56, 175-76, 177-79; com- 
ments on her family, 131, 175; visits to 
Louisville, 175, 177-79, 183, 185, 187; 
in Lynchburg, 188, 194, 207; death of, 
244, 245 
Fletcher, Maria Kipp (Mrs. Stoughton 
Fletcher), 152 n3, 177 n2 

Fletcher, Mary, 171, 172 nl, 173, 178, 186, 
290 

Fletcher, Michael, 4, 5, 10, 19, 41, 48, 54, 
60, 65, 80, 90, 116, 126, 138; at Indian- 
apolis, 140, 141 ni, 143, 166, 198, 212, 
277; death of, 270 n2 

Fletcher, Miles, 42, loO, loi, 103, 116, 
122, 126, 127, 130, 149-50, 152, 156, 
157; letter to EF, 123; letter to Calvin, 
236; business reversal, 264 

Fletcher, Miles Johnson, 103 n6, 234, 
247 n2 

Fletcher, Miriam Keyes (Aunt Deacon), 
237, 238 n3 

Fletcher, Nathan P., 22, 23 n3, 47, 50 nl, 
68, g8 

Fletcher, Polly (Mrs. Orville Richardson), 
238 n2 

Fletcher, Richeson, mistake for Fletcher, 
Richardson 

Fletcher, Richardson, 126, 127 n2, 135, 
140, 141-42, 143, 145, i6l n2, 
171, i8g, 245 n2 

Fletcher, Roxana (Mrs. Jabez Parker), g7 n8 



INDEX 

Fletcher, Sarah Hill (Mrs. Calvin Fletcher), 

92 ni, 250 ni 
Fletcher, Seymour, 126, 130, 164, 236 n2 
Fletcher, Sidney, xv, 73 ni, 93, lOO, lOi, 

111, 128, 277; in Vermont, 108, 112, 
113, 114, 115, 116, 119, 120, 122, 125; 
schooling, 129, 132, 133, 137, 138, 140, 
144, 145 nl, 152; at Yale, 156, 160, 
162, 164, 165, 167, 170; views on edu- 
cation, 148-49, 159; letters to Calvin, 
148-49, 158-59, 165-66, 179-80, 183- 
84, 268-69; farming, 168, 173, 183, 
185, 187, 188, 224, 231 ; trip through 
New England, 170; medical studies, 174, 
176, 180 n I, 181, 191, 194; European 
journey, 191, 193, 195, 196, 198, 201, 
203-4, 205; trip to Florida, 207; trip to 
California, 217, 219, 221-22, 223; 
owner of Tusculum, 224; trip to south 
and west, 264, 265 

Fletcher, Sidney (son of Miles), I 27, 165 

Fletcher, Stephen, 5, 70, 80; schooling, 15, 
16, 20, 23 ni, 28, 33-34. 40. 42 "3. 47. 
55, 57, 72, 77; at Middlebury College, 
62, 64 nl, 67, 74; at Philadelphia, 86, 
87; death, 87 n3 

Fletcher, Stephen Keyes, 168 ni 

Fletcher, Stoughton, 70, 89, 99, 1 06, 1 07, 
108, 113, 122, 124, 131, 134, 199; EF 
advises on schooling, 126, 127, 133; at 
Indianapolis, 128 ni, 129; business ca- 
reer, 132, 133, I34n4, 161 n2, 190; 
partnership with Richardson F., 265 

Fletcher, Stoughton Alfonzo, 129 n4, 258, 
263, 264 nl 

Fletcher, Mrs. Stoughton Alfonzo, see 
Barrows, Ruth E. 

Fletcher, Timothy, 4, 48, 51, 58, 65, 75, 
78, 80, 86, 94, 97, 99, 104, 107, III, 

112, 113, 115-16, 119, 142, 143, 150, 
155, 160, 164, 178, 184, 188, 190, 198, 
204, 211, 215, 216, 227, 230, 232 n2, 
241, 242, 247, 251, 254, 258, 259, 261, 
262, 263, 265, 267, 269; moves to 
Lynchburg, 89, 91 n3 ; letters to Jesse F., 
94-96, 104; letter to Richardson F., 244- 
45; manager of printing office, 102; busi- 
ness associate of Evans, 140, 1 41, 175; 
appearance, l6g, 175, 240; host at family 



301 

Fletcher, Timothy (conl.) 

reunions, 224, 239, 249, 255, 259, 266, 

267, 268; on Lynchburg town council, 

247, 248 nl, 252 
Fletcher, William Baldwin, 168 ni 
Fletcher, family of EF: twins, loi, 102, 

103 n7 ; described by Sidney, I 5 8 
Fletcher farm, 90, 124, 129, 130, 134, 

135 ni, 222, 261, 264; sugar maples, 

106, 107 n2, 1 13 
Foods, 10, II, 12, 13, 20, 39, 80 
Fowler, Lorenzo, 221 ni 
Fowler, Orson, 220, 221 ni 
Fox, Charles James, 192 n3 
Franklin, Joel, 38 n4 
Fredericksburg, Va., 34 

Galusha, Jonas (Governor), 5 nl, 46 
Garland, Ann S., see Rose, Ann Garland 
Garland, David S., 32, 34 n4, 3;, 36, 

42 nl, 45, 47 n4, 66 ni, 279, 280 
Garland, Esquire, 35 
Garland, Hudson M., 38 n4 
Garland, Jane Henry Meredith (Mrs. 

David S. Garland), 34 n4, 246, 

247 ni 
Garland, Jane Meredith, see Cobbs, Jane 

Meredith Garland 
Garland. Sarah (Mrs. William M. Waller), 

139 n2 
Geondotte, mistake for Guyandotte 
Georgetown Visitation Convent Academy, 

16; ni, 173 n;, 180, 186, 187, 

i89nni,3 
German settlers, 1 2 
Gerrard, mistake for Girard 
Giannini family, 83 ni 
Gibson, Mr., 19 n2 
Giles, William Branch, 26, 28 ni 
Girard, Stephen, 212, 213 nl 
Gowen, Mr., 51, 55, 62 
Granger, Gideon, 21, 23 n2 
Great Western Railroad, 2ig; see also 

Virginia & Tennessee 
Greeley, Horace, 241 nl 
Guyandotte, Va., 150, 151 n2 
Guysor, Professor, 225, 227, 228, 229, 230, 

232.233 



INDEX 

Harp, 207, 208 n2 

Harrison, William Henry, 145 n2, 166, 

169 ni 
Harrod, mistake for Herod 
Hart, Edward L., 145 nl, 148 
Hendren, John, 75 n3 
Hendricks, William, 102-3 n4, 1 16 
Hendron, mistake for Hendren 
Henry, Patrick, 34 n4, 73 n2 
Henry Clay, S.S., 236, 237 
Herod, William, 155 ni , 157 
Hodges, Dr. Fletcher, 92 n I 
Hollin HaU, 15 n3 
Holt, Johnny, 255 
Holt, Joshua F., 24; n4 
Holt, Louisa M. Fletcher (Mrs. Joshua F. 

Holt), see Fletcher, Louisa M. 
Houses, log, 6, 17, 24 ; stone, 6,11; Va. 

planters', 18 
Hubbard, Jonathan Hatch, 30, 3 I nl 
Hull, William (General), 63, 64 n3 
Hunting, 13-14, 20, 23 

Indian Creek, 84 n3 

Indiana Bank Stocks, see Fletcher, Elijah 

Indiana, Pittsburgh & Cleveland Railroad, 

255 nl 
Indiana, State Bank of, I36ni,253nl, 

255, 260, 268 
Indianapolis Branch Banking Co., 26 1 nl 
Ingram, Andrew, 165, 166 nl, 184 
Ingram, Mrs. Andrew, 165, 184 
Ives, Isaac, 122, 125 

Jackson, Andrew, 99 n2, 102, 104, 105, 
119, 131, 136; Specie Circular, 

147111 
Jackson, Dr. James, 242, 243 ni 
James River, 44, 76 
James River Canal, I 39, 219, 220 n2 
Jefferson, Thomas, 32, 38-39, 82, 83 nl, 

97 n; ; EF's description, 36 
Jefersonian Republican (Lynchburg), 

130 n2 
Johnson, Achilles D., 98 n3 
Joint worm, 236, 243, 248 

King, Rufus, 63, 64 n5 

King, William Rufus Devane, 193 n2, 195 



302 

Kirkland, Caroline M. Stansbury, 251, 

252 nl, 262, 291 
Kirkland family, 291-92 
Know Nothings, 251, 2 5 2 n 3 

Land speculation, 140, 141 n;, 143, 145, 
147 nl, 165 n2; effects of, 148 ni 

Lee, Robert E., 19 n4 

Livingston, John, of Indianapolis, 145 n; 

Livingston, John, of New York, 243 n2 

Loco Foco party, 165 n2, 176, 189 

Locust Ridge, I 23 n2 

Lottery, 5 5 

Ludlow, Vt., 3, 5, 10, 207 

Lynch, John, 46 n2 

Lynchburg, Va., xv, xvi, 43-44, 46 n2 ; 
churches, 113; EF's first visit to, 43 

Lynchburg Auxiliary Colonization Society, 
xfi, 99 n I 

Lynchburg Gazette, C)J n4 

Lynchburg HeraU, 98 n3 

Lynchburg and New River Railroad, 139 n4 

Lynchburg Press, 97 n4 

Lynchburg Primary School Association, 
209 nl 

Lynchburg Virginian, 97 nn2-4, 98, 136, 
159, 174; subscription rates, 98 n2; fire 
at office of, 146; editorial policies of 
Fletcher and Toler, 285 ; sold by EF, 288 

McCormick, Cyrus, 190, 191 ni 

McDaniel, James, 200 

McGinnis, Valerius, Jr., 3 8 n6, 180 n I , 
279, 280 

Maclaurin, John, 51 nl 

Madison, James (President), 7, 34, 54 n2, 
64 n3 

Marie-Amelie, Queen of France, 195 n3 

Mason, George, 9 n4, i 5 n3 

Mason, Thomson (General), 9 n4, 1 5 n3, 
17; family and domestic life, 8, 17, 
I9n3, 21, 22; home and other property, 
14, 17; political views of, 17; slaves, 14, 

17 
Mason, Mrs. Thomson, see Chichester, 

Sarah 
Masons and masonry, 19 n4, 49, 50 n4, 1 19, 

I2t;, 126 n3 
Mazzei, Philip, 83 nl 



INDEX 

Meredith, Samuel, 38 n4 

Middlcbury, Vt., 4, 46, 47 n6 

Middlebury College, xv, 3, 4, 36, 47, 77, 
278 

Miller, Elvira (Ella) Henry, 103 ng 

Miller, Joseph, 93 n3 

Miller, Joseph A. (Major), 93 113, 235 

Miller, Louisa Fletcher (Mrs. Joseph A. 
Miller), see Fletcher, Louisa 

Miller, William A., 103 119 

Money, terms for, and interstate transac- 
tions, II, 15 n2, 19, 27, 31, 32, 41, 46, 
59.90, 153, 154, 160, 169-70, 181 

Monroe, James (President), 76 nl 

Monticello, 35 

Montpelier, 7, 34 

Mosby, W. Hamilton, 273 n2 

Mount \'ernon, 14, 18 

Mountain pastures, 188, 199 n2, 213, 266, 
267 

Mulberry farm, 202, 271 

Mules, 219, 220, 222 

National Intelligencer, 30, 31 n4, 72, 201, 
268 

Negro traders, 94 

Negroes: servants, 8, 74, 75, 257; free, 77; 
see also Slavery ; Slaves 

Newark, N.Y., 93 n3, 12; nl, 170, 224, 
262 

New Englanders, see Yankees 

New Glasgow, Va., xv, 32, 33, 34 n3, 36, 
38 n3, 44, 47 n4, 172; church (St. 
Marks), 42 nl ; see also Cabellsburg 

New Glasgow Academy, xv, 34 nn3, 5, 36, 
39, 53; description of, 32, 39; EF presi- 
dent of, 30, 36, 37; site of, 38 n5, 279- 
81; trustees of, 38 n4, 53; principal's 
house, 36, 38 n6, 39 

New Haven, Conn., 145 ni, 146, 155, 173, 
177,290 

New York Tribune, 241 ni 

Norfolk, Va., 44, 76, 78 

Nottoway County, Va., 42 

Oliphant, Mr., school in Lynchburg, 172 

Olmsted, Denison, 1 56 n2, 160 

Orange & Alexandria Railroad, 226, 227 n I 



303 

Ordinary, i^; see also Taverns 
Osgood, Mr., 1 13 n3 
Overseer, position of, 23 

Packet boats, I 76, 177 nl 

Page, Charles H., 1 19 n3, 120, 121 ni, 151, 

152 nl, 165, 283; family, 178 
Page, Gabriella Crawford (Mrs. Charles H. 

Page), 118, 1 19 n3, 283 
Parker, Betsey, 94 n 2 
Parker, Elijah Fletcher, 236, 237 n2, 

238 n4 
Parker, Isaac, 68 ni, 94 n2, 237 n2 
Parker, Isaac, Jr., 68 
Parker, Jabez, 97, 98, 1 07 
Parker, Mrs. Jabez, see Fletcher, Roxana 
Parker, Sally, 118, 121 
Patten, cousins of EF, 3 2 
Patten, Aunt, see Patten, Lydia Keyes 
Patten, Corinner, I 58 n2, 20;, 206 n2 
Patten, Connie, see Patten, Corinner 
Patten, John, 84, 97, 121 n2; f,amilyof, 

157, I58nl 
Patten, John, Jr., 1 2 1 
Patten, Johnathan, see Patten, John 
Patten, Lydi.i Keyes (Mrs. Isaac Patten), 

34 n2, 156 
Patten, Pollard, 55, 61 
Patten, Sarah Crawford (Mrs. John Patten), 

121 n2, 173 n2 
Patten, Sophia, i 58 n2, 233 
Patteson, Mabel McGinnis (Mrs. William L. 

Patteson), 38 n6, 180 nl, 279, 280 
Paul's Mountain, 200, 203 n2 
Pawlet, Vt., 40, 41, 42 n3 
Penn, Ann Fox (Mrs. W. S. Crawford, Jr.), 

see Crawford, Ann Penn 
Penn, Capt. [Edmund? ], 216 
Penn, Edmund, 38 n4, 7; ni, 283 
Penn, Mrs. Edmund, 207 
Penn, James, 179 n I 
Penn, Sophia, see Crawford, Sophia Penn 
Penn, Sarah, see Crews, Sarah Penn 
Pinckney, Charles C, 64 n5 
Plantation (Sweetbrier), location and cost, 

123; Fletcher summer home, 142, 151 
Pleasants, James (Governor), 96, 97 n 5 



INDEX 

Pleasants, John Hampden, g6, 97 n4 

Ploughs, varieties of, 44 

Polk, James K., 189 n; 

Pomroy, Thomas, 9 n6 

Poor whites, 26 

Postage, cost of, 27, 28 n6, 38, 47, 1 1 2 

Potwin(e), Ansen, 126 

Potwin, Betsey, see Fletcher, Betsey Potwin 

Potwin(e), John, 126 

Powers, Grant, 20 

Prentis, Tom, 24 

Presbyterian sacrament, 43-44 

Proctor, Jabez, 94, 96, 122 

Proctor, Mrs. Jabez, 118, 121 

Quakers, I 2, 25 

Quincy, Josiah, 72, 73 n3 

Raleigh, N.C., 4, 7, 15 
Raleigh Academy xv, 4 ni, 9 ni 
Randolf, Tnistake for Randolph 
Randolph, John, 26, 28 n3, 30, 43, 63, 

64 ny 
Ray, James Brown (Governor), 10 1, 102- 

3 n4, 286-87 
Reaper, purchased by EF, 190 
Reed, mistake for Reid 
Reid, John, 138, 146 nl, 290 n2 
Reid, William S. (Parson), 44, 46 n3, 

75 n3, 138 nl, 172, 290 n2 
Revolutionary claims, 136, 137 
Richmond, Va., 44, 59 
Richmond Whig, 96, 97 n4 
Rives, William Cabell, 193 n3, 195 n3 
Robinson, Jonathan (Senator), 5 n3 
Robson, Charlotte Button (Mrs. William 

Robson), 218 n4, 235, 236 n4 
Robson, William, 236 n4 
Rodgers, John (Commodore), 63, 64 n2 
Rose, Ann Garland (Mrs. Gustavus Rose), 

139 n2, 251, 252 n2 
Rose, Dr. Gustavus, 1 39, 1 41 n4, 225 nl, 

246, 251 
Rose, Jane, 146 n I 
Rose, Judith, 146 nl 
Royalton Academy, 20, 23 ni 
Rutland Railroad, construction of, 204 nl, 

207-8, 21; ; at Ludlow, 219 



304 
St. Mark's Church, New Glasgow, 42 nl 
St. Paul's Church, Alexandria, 19 n2 
St. Paul's Church, Lynchburg, 113 ni, 

173 n4; Sunday School, 102 n2 
Saratoga Springs, 76 n2 
Sargent, Susan, 118, 121, 124, 128, 130, 

244, 258 n3, 267 
Sheep farming, 213, 216, 218, 221 
Sheets, George S., 204, 205, 206 
Silk culture, 202, 203 n7 
Silk farm, 272 ; see also Mulberry farm 
Siter, Price & Co., 133, 134 n3 
Slavery, 99 ni; efEects of, 26, 45, 97, 122, 

139 n2; trade, 94, 97 
Slaves: as laborers, 8, 12, 57, 97, 219, 226; 

social conditions, 12, 14, 17, 23-24, 25- 

26,36 
Smith, Franklin G., 113 n2, 117 
Smith, Marcellus, 97 n4 
Smith, Robert, 7, 9 n3 
Solander, Mr., 17 
Specie Circular, 147 n I 
Spence, David Edley, 208, 209 ni 
Spooner, Alden B., 26, 28 n4 
Spooner, Alden B., Jr., 26, 27, 28 n4, 42, 

43, 50, 59, 66, 67, 75 ni, 76, 78, 84, 92, 

283 n2; marriage, 81 
Spooner, Elizabeth Crawford (Mrs. Alden 

B. Spooner, Jr.), see Crawford, Elizabeth 
Spooner, Emma (Emelia), 121, 282 
Sfooner's Vermont Journal, 28 n4 
Stewart, m.istake for Stuart 
Story, Joseph (Judge), 187 ni 
String, Joel, 27 

Stuart, Archibald (Judge), 81 n2 
Sunday School, lOl, 102 n2, 113, 132 
Sweet Briar, 123 n2, 270, 273 n2; see also 

Sweetbrier 
Sweet Briar College, xvii, xviii, 1 73 n3, 

273 ni 
Sweetbrier plantation, location and cost, 123, 

172, 273 n2; origin of name, xvii, 

173 n3; building improvements, 190, 

201, 202, 212, 228, 229, 230, 232, 238 
Sweet Springs, W.Va., 213 
Sydnor, Fortunatus, 153, I54ni 



INDEX 

Taverns, 6, I o, 1 1 , 12, 1 3, 95 ; /«« also 

Ordinary 
Taylor, Bayard, 241 nz 
Taylor, Zachary, 216 nl 
Thanksgiving, 46, 67, 70, 1 19 
Tichenor, Isaac (Governor), 5 ni 
Tobacco, 8, 40, 44, 244; rolling hogshead to 

market, 34; see also Agriculture and land 

use 
Tobacco Row Mountain, 64^ 66 n3, 84 n3, 

169 n2 
Toler, Richard H., 97 nn2-4, 112, 128, 

130, 136, 137, 155, 156, 157, 159, 

161 nl, 174, 288 n2 
Toller, mistake for Toler 
Tompkins, Daniel D. (Governor), 66 nj, 

75,76ni 
Tompkins, James, 46 n3 
Turner, William L., 7, 9 ni 
Tusculum, 73 nl, 94, 172, 173 n2, 188, 

21 1, 224 
Tyler, John, 169 nl 

Ungles, Bradly & Fletcher, 133, I34n2 
Union College, 199 n I 
U.S. Bank, charter expired, 3 1 
University of Vermont, xv, 4 n2, 28 n5, 
91 n4, 278; see also Burlington 

Van Buren, Martin, 145 n2, 216 nl 

Vannerson, Henrietta Crawford, 94 nl, 282, 
283 n2 

Vannerson, William, 283 n2 

Van Rensselaer, Stephen, 66 n; 

Varnum, George W. (Captain), 57, 58 n2 

Varnum, Joseph Bradley (General), 33, 
34 n6, 57 

Vermonters, 8, 24 

Vermont RefublUan, 33 

Virginia: schools, 16; legislature, 26, 46, 
157, 159, 180, 241, 257; emplo}'ment 
opportunities, 45, 54; economic condi- 
tions, 139, 164, 171, 183, 184, 218, 238, 
240, 266; new constitution, 231, 235; 
banks in, 241 {see also Farmers Bank of 
Va.; Exchange Bank) 

Virginia & Tennessee Railroad, 226, 227 n2, 
249,253 



305 

Virginians: characteristics of, 8, 21 ; man- 
ners and customs, 8, 13, 20, 21, 39, 43; 
social and economic contrasts, 17 

Walker, Robert, 38 n4 

Waller, William M., 139 n2, 141 n4 

Walsh, Robert, 193 n5, 195, 201 

War of i8i2, 53, 56, 58 nl, 64 nn2-4, 

81 n4; economic effects of, 57, 58, 63, 

82; Boston blockade, 63; Virginians in 

Canada, 63; British at Hampton, Va., 76 
Warren, Sir John B. (Admiral), 74, 75 n2 
Washington, Bushrod (Judge), 14 
Washington, George, 14, 18, 19 nn2, 4 
Washington, D.C., 6, 7, 18, 30, 73 
Washingtonian, 9, 20, 27, 33, 36, 37, 40, 

41.54.81 
Watson, Ralph (General), 173 n2, 192 
Watson, Mrs. Ralph, see Crawford, Julia 
Webster, Daniel, 169 n I 
Webster, Fletcher, 169 n I 
Webster, Grace Fletcher (Mrs. Daniel 

Webster), 1 00, loi nl 
Westford, Mass., xiv, 70 ni, 277 
Westford Academy, xv, 278 
Wheat, 40, 44, 45 ; see also Agriculture and 

land use 
Whig party, 97 n3, 166, 189 n5, 251 
Whiting,Vt., 51,54, 55, 294 
Wilkinson, James (General), 7, 9 n2 
William and Mary, College of, 158, 186, 

188 
Williams, Byron, 255 
Williams, Daisy, A-&M, 283 nl 
Williams, Fletcher, 126, 236 n2, 246, 

247 n4 
Williams, Indiana Fletcher (Mrs. James 

Henry Williams), xvii, 283 ni 
Williams, Lucy Fletcher (Mrs. Richard P. 

Williams) , see Fletcher, Lucy 
Williams, Noel Byron, 128 
Williams, Norman, 27, 28 n5, 71, 78, 81, 

278 
Williams, Dr. Richard P., 67 nl, 93 n3, 

112, 125, 128, 129, 130, 198 n3 
Williams, Stephen Keyes, 198, igg, 236 n2 
Williams, T. S., 73 nl 



INDEX 306 

Williamsburg, Va., 59 Yandes, Fanny Button (Mrs. James Yandes), 
Woodroof's Mound, 202 218 n4, 229, 230 ni, 235, 236 n5, 

246 ni 

Yale College, 137, 138, 140, 144, 145, 149, Yandes, James W., 229, 230 nl, 246 ni 

156 n2, 160, 162, 164, 167, 170, 174, Yankees, characteristics of, 8, 1 1, 21 

181, 182, 186 





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